Insulating your attic will help keep your heating and cooling from going through the roof and your wallet. Keep in mind that insulation can compress over time, become less effective and may need to be replaced. Adequate insulation will keep unwanted heat out of your home, reduce the workload on your cooling system and save money on your electric bill.
Grab a ruler or tape measure and a flashlight and go into your attic to measure the depth of the insulation at the attic entry. After measuring, use this guide as a rule-of-thumb to determine if more insulation is needed.
•Fiberglass (paper-backed blankets with the R-value printed on the blanket): less than 3.5 inches
•Fiberglass (pink or white with a loose or coarse texture): less than 5 inches
•Cellulose (gray with a fine soft texture): less than 3 inches
R-value measures resistance to heat flow through a specified thickness of material. The higher the R-value of insulation, the better. According to OUC, “unless the existing insulation is damaged, deteriorated or contaminated with mold or pests, it’s not usually necessary to remove the material before adding more insulation. New cellulose insulation can be installed over existing fiberglass insulation, and new fiberglass insulation can be installed over existing cellulose insulation.”
Most utility companies offer rebates and incentives programs to help cover the cost of installing recommended levels of attic or roof insulation. Typically, the request for rebates must be made within twelve months of installation.
You can use an online zip code insulation calculator such as the one provided by the Department of Energy to determine the recommended attic R-value for your specific region, age of the home, method of heating and home construction. http://web.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_16.html.
Although you could install insulation yourself with the proper protection and equipment, it’s generally recommended that you hire a licensed contractor who can recommend the type and value of insulation that works best for your home’s age and construction.
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