Adding insulation to your attic helps keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. It also saves you money on your heating and cooling bills – it’s a win-win. In fact, if your attic and walls were not insulated at all, you could lose up to 60% of your home’s energy. But, when it comes to choosing the type of attic insulation, how do you know what is best for your home? The experts at Ambient Edge have some advice.
How to Ensure You Have the Correct R-value
The R-value of insulation is a measure of how well any particular type of insulation can keep heat inside your home. In general, the higher the R-value, the better insulation that material will provide.
Insulation with a lower R-value (in the three to six range) is generally found in foam board. While it costs less, it also insulates relatively poorly. Insulation with a higher R-value (in the 30 to 50 range) is typically found in materials such as cellulose, fiberglass, and mineral wool. Those materials may cost more but provide superior insulation.
The recommended R-value for your attic insulation will depend on many factors, including the specifics of your home, your existing insulation, and where you’re located. The climate in your area and even how much sun exposure your home receives can determine the appropriate R-value for your attic space.
For southern states in the U.S. — those that tend to experience the hottest and driest or most humid weather most of the year — a lower R-value is generally acceptable. The further north you go, the higher the recommended R-value. In some very cold areas of the country, experts endorse an R-value up to 60!
Adding new layers of insulation to existing layers of insulation will help increase the R-value. However, the amount and type of insulation materials, as well as where they are located in your home, also affects the R-value. It’s best to have a professional evaluation of what you already have and what will most help insulate your attic.
Not sure what the best choice is for your home, your heating and cooling needs, and your budget? Call (888) 247-7475, and we can help you figure it out.
Insulation Types and How to Choose Insulation
Fiberglass insulation is an economical and popular insulation choice. It comes in batts (rolls) or can be blown-in using special equipment. It resists both fire and moisture and is not a target for insects. However, fiberglass batts and blown-in fiberglass have a lower R-value and often do not provide adequate insulation.
Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper or wood. It is an environmentally friendly choice, insects will not eat it and it is treated with a chemical that makes it fire-resistant. Cellulose insulation should not, however, be used in damp attics, as it can be damaged by moisture and can grow mold or mildew.
Mineral wool is made from the recycled byproducts of metal smelting and refining. It is water- and fire-resistant and provides sound insulation as well as temperature control.
Cotton insulation is also an earth-friendly choice, as it is made from recycled denim jeans. It is very effective at trapping heat.
There are two types of foam insulation — open cell and closed cell. Both offer powerful protection against air leaks, are durable, and are waterproof. Blankets and rolls (or batts) are usually fiberglass. Blown-in or loose-fill insulation can be fiberglass, cellulose, cotton, or mineral wool (also known as rockwool). Foam insulation is a unique product that can be blown in and also expands to fill cracks and leaks.
If your home was built before 1970, it may currently have asbestos insulation. If so, this should not be disturbed. You may be able to safely add new insulation to the current asbestos-based insulation. However, if your asbestos insulation is damaged or disturbed it may require professional remediation to keep you and your home safe.
When to Call in the Pros
While a homeowner can grab a few rolls of fiberglass insulation from a hardware store and toss them into an attic, this may not be helpful or effective when it comes to providing good insulation. You’ll need a professional assessment of your space and your insulation needs, as well as special equipment (blow-in machines, respirators, etc.) for proper attic insulation installation.
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We’ll Help You Find the Best Insulation for Your Attic
Whether you have a tiny or large space to insulate, the experts at Ambient Edge can ensure you have the right insulation for your space and your budget. We can help you keep your home comfortable for many years.
Call (888) 247-7475 or send us a message to schedule an estimate today.