Attic Insulation Saves Money, Increases Comfort

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  • Author Jeremy Smith
  • Published June 23, 2011
  • Word count 427

Adding insulation to the attic of a home has a variety of advantages. Most importantly, it prevents home temperatures from becoming extreme. It helps homeowners save money by reducing the amount of heating and cooling necessary.

What Does It Do?

Attic insulation prevents outside air from traveling beyond the confines of ceilings, floors and walls into the rest of the house. When all rooms in the home are about the same temperature, this is not much of an issue. When they are different temperatures, however, it matters a lot. In the wintertime, a cold, non-insulated attic invites cold air into the rest of the home below. A cold room takes more energy to heat. With a central heating system, it requires a longer running time to reach a comfortable room temperature. This results in higher energy usage and higher energy bills. In the summertime, heat works the same way. Exterior heat and the sun’s strong radiant energy penetrate the roof. When there is nothing blocking it, it enters the attic and the rest of the house, making every room warmer. Without effective insulating material, the house would be warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. The more separation between the attic and the rest of the home, the less negative effect cold winter air and hot summer air have upon the home and the energy bill.

How Does It Work?

Attic insulation prevents air from traveling into other areas. When no one is in the attic, it does not matter much whether the space is warm or cold. Different types of insulation are available to provide a block. Depending on the climate, different levels of insulation thickness are required throughout the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Energy insulation in Katy, Texas, for example, has a Resistance (R) value of 28. The typical fiberglass barrier should span about 15 to 18 inches.

Types

Fiberglass is the most traditional type used. It is man-made, chemical-free and fire resistant. Fiberglass has a life span of about 35 years, so most homeowners only have to install it once during their ownership, if at all. Fiberglass comes in rolls of batting or can be blown in with a special hose to coat the attic floor. Another popular type of insulation is cellulose. It is a loose insulating fill. Flame-retardant chemicals are added to it for safety. Foam is another popular insulator. It can be sprayed into cracks and crevices or installed as a sheet. Rock and slag are also insulation materials. They come in loose fill, batting or sheets.

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