Can’t seem to lower your monthly utility bills no matter how hard you try? You can take shorter showers, wash clothes on the ‘cold water’ setting, adjust the thermostat, etc., but unfortunately all of this will have little impact if your attic isn’t properly insulated. The attic is one of the biggest sources of thermal energy leaks inside the home. Allowing such problems to persist can end up costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in wasted energy over the course of a year.
It should go without saying that proper insulation is critical to achieving an energy-efficient home. If there’s not enough insulation present in your attic, or if it’s the wrong type, a significant portion of your home’s thermal energy will rise to the attic and escape through the roof. This is especially problematic during the hot summer and freezing cold winter, as families tend to use their HVAC system to create a more comfortable indoor environment.
Don’t assume that your attic is energy-efficient just because it contains insulation. The efficiency level of insulation is measured in R-Value. The higher the R-Value, the greater its ability to block thermal energy. Homes built before the 1970s typically contain insulation with an average R-Value of 11, whereas modern-day homes are built with insulation of 30+ R-Value. The difference between the two is like night and day. Technically, modern-day insulation is about 2-3 times more efficient than insulation used before the 1970s.
The official Energy Star website states the following about attic insulation R-Value:
“The higher the R-Value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation. The recommended level for most attics is to insulate to R-38 or about 10 to 14 inches, depending on insulation type.”
Note: attic insulation can be doubled to achieve a higher R-Value. For instance, using 4 inches of insulation with an R-Value of 15 would offer the same thermal resistance as 2 inches of insulation with an R-Value of 30, so keep this in mind when insulating your attic.
Attic insulation is typically a DIY project that most homeowners can perform themselves, without hiring a professional contractor. However, if there’s old insulation that’s either damaged and/or moldy in your attic, you may want to hire the Attic Guys to take care of it. Handling old insulation can be dangerous, especially if it contains mold or asbestos.
Have any other tips for an energy-efficient attic? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!