If you have an attic there’s a good chance you’re losing much of your heating and cooling through your attic. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), more than 80% of homes built prior to 1980 have little or no insulation, and attic insulation is usually where you’ll get “the most bang for your buck.”
SHOULD YOU INSULATE YOUR ATTIC FLOOR OR YOUR ATTIC RAFTERS (ROOF RAFTERS / ROOF DECK)?
Choosing the right insulation product for your attic can have a large impact on your home’s energy efficiency, comfort and indoor air quality.
HOW IMPORTANT IS R-VALUE?
Since heat rises, an under-insulated attic can send a good chunk of your home heat through the roof. If your attic has fiberglass batts that have been there for 10 or 20 years or more, they have significantly deteriorated over time. It’s likely that what’s left is nowhere near adequate or meeting the DOE’s recommended insulation levels for attics in our region. In fact, the DOE recommends adding insulation to attain R-49. The R-value is the way insulation is measured in terms of how well it should reduce conductive heat loss.
But R-Value isn’t everything – about 40% of heat gained or lost in a typical home is from air leakage due to convection. Energy-efficient homes are achieved through a combination of excellent AIR SEALING to address air leakage AND proper installation of R-value attic INSULATION materials.
Blown in cellulose and Blown in fiberglass attic insulation products are cost effective and can be used to insulate your attic floor, but we would couple those attic insulation products with excellent air sealing techniques. We recommend that we air seal the attic areas like attic top plates, accessible wire and plumbing penetrations, and that we box out recessed lights as part of the insulation process when insulating with any blown in material such as cellulose or fiberglass, because those attic insulation products alone will not stop air leakage.
Open and Closed Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam can address both conductive and convection heat loss with one product, because it insulates AND air seals your attic. We use different types of polyurethane spray foams for different applications. The most effective way to insulate and air seal the attic, especially if you have heating and cooling equipment in it, is to spray foam insulate the attic rafters (i.e. roof deck) and create an unvented attic space.
Bringing the attic into the conditioned space takes the duct system connecting your heating and cooling system out of a previously “hostile environment” In other words, a poorly insulated attic can reach temperatures well over 100 degrees in summer and below freezing in the winter which puts a strain on the functioning of an air handler, greatly reducing its efficiency. That handler has to work much harder to heat and cool the air. And since all ductwork leaks to some degree, having warm air leaking into the attic during winter months could set up conditions for mold to grow. Properly insulating the attic keeps moisture build-up at bay and can improve the efficiency of an air handler. Spray foam is the superior attic insulation product,as it air seals and insulates the attic space.
Get started with a FREE in-home estimate to explore your options & learn how much you can save with insulation from Good Life Energy Savers.