As October approaches, summer is coming to an end and winter is just around the corner. While there is no need to turn on the heaters yet, it is time to consider whether or not your house is well-protected against the cold.
Unless you live in Florida, with the autumnal season comes cold weather and a big increase in energy bills. One of the biggest signs of a poorly insulated house is when the energy bills are sky high, but the house remains chilly enough to wear a sweater and slippers. If that happened to you last winter, it is time to take a look at the condition of your home insulation before you start handing over your paycheck to your energy provider. Older homes are more likely to have less insulation than newer homes, but adding to already existing insulation is always beneficial to you and your wallet.
Properly insulating your attic and crawl space can save you thousands of dollars in the next few years. Most likely, you will find that your attic insulation job pays for itself over the course of one winter due to the decrease in energy required to heat your home. Regardless of the climate conditions you live in, in the U.S. you need a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic.
Before insulating your attic area, make sure that you get the air leakage sites sealed up. If you put an air permeable insulation material over a hole in your ceiling, you may have comfort, indoor air quality, durability, and efficiency problems.
The most common choice of insulation is batt fiberglass. These are large pieces of insulation that hold together because they’re made of long, interweaving fibers with adhesive binders. Their effective insular qualities and inexpensive prices make it a popular option for insulation. With an R-value per inch of 3.1 – 4.3, fiberglass insulation will keep your home energy efficient and toasty warm. In other words, it has quality enough to do its job, without costing a fortune at the onset.
Fiberglass works best in large flat areas that do not have multiple cross beams or obstacles such as wires or outlets, as these will create air pockets and gaps that will diminish its effectiveness as insulating your home.
Blown Insulation is a better choice is insulation that comes in smaller chunks. The insulation installers hold a large hose and blow the chunks into the attic. A large machine outside churns the chunks and uses air to blow them up through the hose.
The two main choices here are fiberglass and cellulose, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. They both insulate about the same, though, with R-vales in the 3 to 4 per inch range. Cellulose comes from recycled newspapers. Fiberglass comes from call a ‘rapidly renewable’ resource – sand, which is a common insulation material that may work better in the blown form than in batts.
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