Importance of Attic Insulation
With the extreme Iowa weather, it’s important to remember that your home is not airtight and finding ways to keep the weather out and the comfort in will not only make your living space more enjoyable, but will help keep your energy expenses lower as well.
Air Leaks and Insulation
Air leaking from your windows, doors, outer walls, and other openings wastes quite a bit of energy and also increases utility bills. Finding and sealing these leaks could make a significant difference in utility bills during both the warmer and colder months of the year.
Other ways to increase the energy efficiency in your home is to make sure the proper amount of insulation is being used in the right areas of your home. One area of the home that is often overlooked is the attic.
Improperly insulated attics can cause issues such as:
- High heating or cooling bills
- Dry indoor winter air
- Dusty rooms throughout the house
- Uneven temperature between rooms
- An HVAC system that runs more than it should be running
- Drafty rooms
Peeking up through the crawl space should be enough to tell you if there’s an insulation issue or not. If you can see the floor joists in your attic, you probably don’t have enough insulation. You should have no less than 11 inches of rock wool or fiberglass insulation, or 8 inches of cellulose insulation. It should be noted, however, that these minimum requirements equal an R-30 value and is actually low for the Midwestern climate.
The Energy Star recommendation for R-values in our area of the country is for an insulated attic to register an R-value of R-38 to R-49 at its most efficient. An R-38 value would be roughly 10-14 inches of insulation, depending on the type.
Fixing the Issue
If you need to add insulation to your attic, you don’t have to match the existing insulation type. You can add loose fill over a fiberglass batt or blanket, and also add a fiberglass batt or blanket over a loose fill base.
The most important thing about the finished product is that the insulation is evenly distributed over the entire floor space of your attic. Another important thing to remember is to insulate the trap door that gives access to the attic.
While some types of insulation are easier to install than others, some may require the help of a professional. The blown insulation types can be done with the help of a blower that can be rented from a local hardware store, but the expertise in using the equipment may need to come from a professional. And wearing the proper protective equipment is essential if choosing to make this a DIY project.
Once you’ve eliminated any air leaks and brought the insulation up to standard, you should enjoy more comfort and fewer expenses during the more extreme seasons.