Improving your attic insulation is one of the most effective steps you can take to defend your home from the chill of the Monmouth County winter and from the summer heat. For the greatest benefit, though, you need the right amount.
Perfecting Your Insulation Level
In the winter, attic insulation holds warm air from your furnace down in your rooms, preventing heat from rising into the attic. This not only cuts your heating costs, but also protects your attic from moisture damage due to condensation and prevents ice dams that can cause roof leaks. In summer, attic insulation holds back the heat that builds up in the attic, reducing the load on your A/C and bringing you lower cooling bills.
In the Monmouth County area, an attic should have at least an R-38 layer of insulation or up to an R-60 layer for optimal results. That’s between 12 and 19 inches of fiberglass batts. As a rule, if your attic already has 3 or 4 inches of insulation, adding another R-38 layer will suffice.
On top of the attic access hatch, install an R-16 to R-38 layer of rigid foam insulation. That’s between 4 to 8 inches, depending on the type you use.
Choosing the Best Insulation Material
Fiberglass and cellulose, in either batt or loose-fill (blown-in) form, are the most commonly chosen insulation types for attics. Cellulose is slightly more efficient than fiberglass. Batts are easy to install by yourself. Loose-fill insulation requires a special machine for installation, but it fills in small gaps better than batts, making it more efficient.
Rock wool is another smart choice for insulating the attic. It’s highly efficient, durable, naturally fire-resistant, and blocks noise. Cellulose is a natural, eco-friendly insulation, but there are other green options including sheep’s wool, cotton, and hemp. Using rigid foam for the whole attic is possible, but generally cost-prohibitive.
Before you add insulation, use caulk or another sealing material as appropriate to seal air leaks around dropped soffits, recessed lights, knee walls, the plumbing vent stack, and the furnace flue vent.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma 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 Guide or call us at 918-217-8273.
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