Do I have enough attic insulation?

Have you ever wondered if your house is losing heat through the attic resulting in higher energy bills? Well with the current winter weather in our area now is a great time to do a visual check on your roof.

Do I have enough attic insulation?

There’s only one way to be sure. Open up the attic hatch and have a look and see what kind of attic insulation and how deep it is. The depth of your insulation and its type will allow you to estimate its overall R-Value. The higher the R value, the more resistance the material has to the movement of heat. The most common forms of insulation include fiberglass batts, and cellulose or fiberglass loose fill. In some cases you may see spray foam, rigid foam, wood chips and even vermiculite.

Insulation is necessary to prevent or slow the transfer of heat from one area of the house to another — like from your living room into your attic and out the roof. After R-50, there isn’t much point of having more insulation as its thermal capacity maxes out. You really can’t have too much attic insulation unless you have blocked the venting or it is touching the underside of the sheathing. Keep in mind that adding more insulation has diminishing returns. For example, the first R-12 of ceiling insulation pays for itself very quickly, whereas the next R-12 added will have a longer payback.

Hugh Cairns attic insulation tip - ”Hand in hand with attic insulation is attic ventilation. Your attic also must be adequately ventilated. If it isn’t, any moisture or water vapour that is present in the space can lead to serious problems, like mould or rot”.

How much attic insulation should I add?

In most cases homeowners consult an insulation contractor to answer this common question. But the basic answer is the maximum allowable without affecting ventilation.

Add the Right Kind of Insulation

If you have wood chip or vermiculite insulation you’ll definitely want to arrange for its removal before you install new product. When adding additional insulation, you’ll probably use new loose fill blown in fiberglass. You can do the job yourself and rent some equipment from the big box store, but I can guarantee that it won’t be fun. It would be wise to hire a professional.

For more tips on attic insulation levels and adding more insulation click here

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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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