While there still may be a couple more weeks before the official start of spring, it doesn’t mean that you should wait until then to prepare your home for warmer weather. One simple do-it-yourself job to tackle before hot weather hits is to make sure your attic is properly insulated to prevent air loss from the use of your cooling system.
What is insulation?
Essentially, insulation is a material that prevents air loss from your home. It’s commonly installed in wall cavities, underneath floors, as well as in garages and attics. Insulation can be made from fiberglass, cellulose, wool and a variety of other materials. With the right amount of insulation in place, you could potentially decrease your monthly energy costs. This is because your home’s heating and cooling systems won’t need to work overtime to keep your family comfortable when there’s no easy way for heated or cooled air to escape.
What type of attic insulation do I need?
For attics, loose fill and batt insulation are the two most common types of materials installed. They can easily be set up in attics with no existing insulating material, as well as in attics where material may be already in place.
Loose fill insulation is blown into the attic space using a machine that can usually be purchased or rented from a home improvement store. There are several types of loose fill insulating materials available, including fiberglass, cellulose, and mineral wool. The advantage to using loose fill material is that it can be filled to the appropriate density and depth based on your attic’s specific needs.
Batt insulation is available in rolls of varying lengths and thicknesses. Often, this type of insulation is installed in attics with relatively few obstructions, or in attics where there may already be a layer of existing insulation.
How much attic insulation do I need?
Insulation’s effectiveness is rated by its R-value – the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The amount of insulation you need will depend on where you live. Refer to the chart on the Department of Energy’s website to learn more.
What are the benefits of adding extra insulation before summer hits?
When you have the right amount of insulation in your attic, cool air produced by your air conditioner won’t easily escape out the roof of your home. In turn, this means your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to cool your family off during the dog days of summer. Less work for your air conditioner means potentially less wear and tear or breakdowns. Also, extra insulation in your attic will be advantageous during the winter since the barrier will prevent heat loss, too.
And, of course, it’s a smart idea to get your insulation installed now while the weather isn’t too warm! Working in a cramped attic quickly becomes very hot once temperatures outside start to climb.