Air leaks and poor insulation in the attic will make it more difficult to keep your home cool during the summer and warm in the winter. While air leaks allow conditioned air to escape and hot or cold air to infiltrate your home in winter and summer, respectively, inadequate or missing insulation allows heat to transfer in and out. Both issues force your HVAC system to work harder to compensate. Before the cool fall weather arrives, assess the insulation in your attic to determine if it needs more.
How to Assess the Insulation in the Attic
- Look at the attic’s floor. If you can see the floor joists, you need more insulation.
- Look for even distribution. As you examine the floor, you may find that some areas have more insulation than others. For example, the middle of the attic floor may have enough insulation, but there may not be enough along the eaves. If this is the case, you need to install more insulation.
The Right Insulation for Your Attic
The R-value for insulation indicates the material’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better thermal resistance the insulation has. Most attics use insulation with an R-38 rating, which is about 10 to 14 inches thick.
Common types of attic insulation include fiberglass batts and loose-fill.
Adding New Attic Insulation
When you add more insulation in your attic, you don’t have to use the same type that exists in the space. You do have to make sure, however, that the first layer of insulation is unfaced – free of paper or foil backings.
The simplest type of insulation to add by yourself is fiberglass batts, which you unroll perpendicular to the first layer of insulation on the floor. Keep the insulation at least three inches away from recessed lights.
Protective gear that you should wear includes:
- Safety glasses
- Disposable gloves
- Disposable dust mask
- Disposable coveralls
A professional should install loose-fill insulation, as it requires the use of a special blowing machine.
For more professional advice about how to assess the insulation in your attic or to learn more about increasing your home’s comfort, please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning. We’ve served the greater Fresno area for 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about attic insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “gcpics/Shutterstock”