Home insulation is often overlooked when looking for ways to reduce utility costs, but it should be first on your list. Poor insulation can lead to high heating and cooling costs and lead to variations in room temperatures, impacting the comfort of your home. Poor insulation can also result in premature end-of-life for both your heating and cooling systems.
Heating and cooling systems that need to run longer to maintain desired room temperatures cause unnecessary wear and tear on both your heating and air conditioning systems. The replacement cost for new these systems will run upward of $6,000 to $20,000 each, depending on the size of the home.
Fall is a smart time to assess your home insulation, especially your attic insulation. According to the EPA, the attic is usually where you can find some of the largest energy-saving opportunities in your home.
PROPER HOME INSULATION CAN REDUCE HEATING (AND COOLING) COSTS BY UP TO 50%
Homeowners often assume the home builder or previous owner properly insulates their home. That is frequently not the case. Over the last decade, insulation building codes have changed dramatically, resulting in an increased focus on energy-efficient living.
Combining rapidly increasing utility costs and energy efficiency goals has impacted the current building code and recommended standards.
Here in Illinois, the minimum recommended standard for attic insulation is an R-49. Often energy-wise, homeowners will upgrade to an R-60 for added savings and comfort.
WHAT IS AN “R” RATING?
An “R” rating conveys the capacity of insulation. It is a measurement of the rate of thermal resistance (ability to resist temperature penetration). The higher the “R” value, the greater the heat resistance, the better your insulation will perform.
Many homes in Illinois were built with minimal attic insulation, usually R-19, though many builders installed R-39 in newer homes built after 1990. Currently, the EPA recommended R-rating range is a minimum of R-49 to an ideal R-60 for peak efficiency.
FIBERGLASS INSULATION PAYS FOR ITSELF FASTER THAN ANY OTHER HOME IMPROVEMENT
Recent studies by Remodeling Magazine found Fiberglass Blown-in Attic Insulation to have the highest ROI compared to 30 other home improvement projects. The assessed ROI for insulation upgrade with blown-in fiberglass is 117%, according to one study.
HOME INSULATION HELPS PREVENT ICE DAMS
In winter, when you are heating your home around the clock, heat transfers to the attic. Good attic insulation slows heat transfer, and attic ventilation helps to dissipate heat build-up in the attic during winter. Otherwise, the heat can build up, and snow on your roof can begin to melt rapidly. The snowmelt flows down to cold gutters where it can freeze into a damn. This damn forces additional melt (water) from flowing through the gutters. Instead, the water is forced under roof tiles and up against the home exterior and gutters, leading to costly damage.
Upgrading your attic insulation is an affordable way to reduce your winter heating costs while enhancing the overall comfort of your home.
Typically, the existing insulation is inspected for moisture, infestations, etc. If it is in good shape, it can be left in place. Upgrading to a higher “R” value is accomplished by adding new insulation over the old. The fastest and most cost-effective method is to have insulation blown in on top of the existing insulation to the depth specified by the insulation manufacturer.
ATTIC ACCESS INSULATION
If your attic access is not properly insulated, you are dramatically reducing the potential of your attic insulation. There are a few different ways to insulate your attic hatch. Attic access insulation kits can be purchased but are often expensive and difficult to install. If you are considering an attic insulation upgrade, ask your contractor to insulate the hatch and damn around the attic access door.
SEALING AIR LEAKS BEFORE UPGRADING INSULATION
There are several ways air can transfer from your attic down into your living spaces or from your living spaces up into your attic. Sealing those gaps and cracks with insulating foam blocks the airflow both ways.
CHECK YOUR ATTIC VENTILATION (YES – FOR WINTER!)
Proper attic ventilation is important to ensuring air is properly circulating in your attic. Without good attic ventilation, moisture from living spaces below can condense on wood structures and insulation. Over time the moisture buildup can lead to structural damage, mold problems and deplete the performance of your insulation. Wet insulation loses its capacity to insulate properly. Good air circulation helps to remove moisture from the attic, especially in winter when windows and doors in living spaces are kept closed. Moisture from cooking, cleaning, and bathing can rise into the attic. Without air circulation, this moisture will build over time and lead to trouble.
WE ARE THE ATTIC EXPERTS – SERVING NORTHERN ILLINOIS RESIDENTS FOR 24 YEARS.
Contact us for a free attic inspection. You can reach us at 630.941.3800.