Choosing the right type of attic insulation for your home depends on so many location-related factors. In a single state, there can be as many as five distinct climate zones! So how do you know how to insulate your attic best?
In most cases, a professional energy audit is a good way to begin. Your home’s internal ecosystem will be evaluated by a professional to determine its energy efficiency, which will include your existing attic insulation. The auditor will then decide if you have to add more insulation or actually replace the whole thing.
Again, on which state you live in, the U.S. Department of Energy will recommend the most suitable R-value for your attic insulation. The R-value is a thermal resistance measurement, or the amount of heat flow the insulation can resist.
The higher the R-value, the more efficient insulation is, leading to greater energy efficiency in the home. The exact location of your home will also be a factor in determining the best R-value for your attic insulation.
In certain states, for example, the temperature variations between its northern and southern regions are the widest in winter. Thus, homes located north of the state need a little higher R-values compared to homes in the south.
Excess moisture in the attic insulation is yet another factor to take into account. Improperly vented appliances, minor roof leaks, and dripping water pipes all contribute to this moisture. All these can bring down the insulation’s R-value, causing the growth of health-threatening mold and mildew.
Wrapping a home’s water heater and pipes with insulation can make a huge difference as well in terms of energy bills, particularly if the temperature in the heater area is low, or if the pipes pass through an unheated basement or attic.
Water heating accounts for about 15-20% of a home’s monthly costs. Additionally, insulation of water pipes will ensure that they don’t burst or freeze during the coldest seasons. It’s easy to see that proper attic insulation can provide a lot of long-term benefits to your home. In general, it will reduce your energy bills, make indoor temperature more comfortable any time of the year, and improve indoor air quality.
From a wider perspective, because your energy consumption from heating and cooling will now be reduced, your home’s carbon footprint will also be minimized. You may also consider environment-friendly insulation options, like those produced from cotton or recycled materials.
In any case, make sure you hire the right professionals for the job. There are many options out there, but they are not all the same. But if you do your homework, you can make an informed choice that you will not regret.