Upgrade Your Attic Insulation

— Written By Trudy Pickett and last updated by

With cold weather upon us (disregarding our current balmy temps), it is always wise to assess the energy efficiency of your home. Whether the structure is new or old, big or small, there is usually a way to improve the heating or cooling of your home. Saving energy and money will be an added benefit to increased comfort to you and your family.

Insulation is used in your home to provide resistance to heat flow. The more heat flow resistance your insulation provides, the lower your heating and cooling costs will be. Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. In the winter, this heat flow moves directly from all heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, basements, and even to the outdoors. Heat flow can also move indirectly through interior ceilings, walls, and floors—wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the cooling season, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior of a house. During the heating season, the opposite occurs.

To maintain comfort, the heat lost in the winter must be replaced by your heating system and the heat gained in the summer must be removed by your cooling system. Properly insulating your home will decrease this heat flow by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat.

Insulation’s resistance to heat flow is measured or rated in terms of its thermal resistance or R-value. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The R-value depends on the type of insulation and includes its material, thickness, and density.

Unless your home was specially constructed for energy efficiency, you can usually reduce your energy bills by adding more insulation. Many older homes have less insulation than homes built today, but adding insulation to a newer home may also pay for itself within a few years.

To determine whether you should add insulation, you first need to find out how much insulation you already have in your home.

By visual inspection, you can find out the type of insulation and its thickness. Do you have cold spots in your home in the wintertime and hot spots during the warm months? These could be sure signs that you need to improve your home’s insulation. Answer these questions before heading to the home store or calling a contractor. Adding insulation to a home’s existing insulation is often a do-it-yourself project.

Save on heating and cooling bills by increasing the insulation in your home.

Source: energysavers.gov