We all want to have an energy efficient home, not only to reduce increasing electric bills, but also because conscientious home owners are aware that any opportunity we have to cut down on our energy use is good for the environment. “But there’s so much information out there, and I don’t know where to start!” some might say.
The good news is that, while there are many steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient, insulation is a key component and your Attic Insulation is the first place to look
The Department of Energy advises that; “One of the most cost-effective ways to improve your home’s comfort is to add insulation to your attic.”
Here’s an illustration to help you understand the importance of attic insulation. Imagine your body as a home. The second rule of thermodynamics states that hot air always wants to travel to cold. In your home, you have an HVAC system that works hard to keep the temperature at a comfortable level, just the way you like it! The weather outside, on the other hand, is usually working against you. During the summer months, you want to keep the temperature at a cooler level, and during the winter months, you want to keep it warmer.
So, just as a home needs insulation, when we go outside on a cold day, what do we do? We put on a jacket. The jacket on its own does not make us warmer. What it does is retain our body temperature. Our body is like a furnace running constantly, and the jacket helps to retain that heat and makes us feel warm.
Now imagine you have a lot of holes in your jacket: you will feel it immediately because the elements from outside will be able to get into your body (your home) and you lose a lot of body heat through those leaks.
That’s why your mother always told you to wear a hat in the winter. A hat is insulation for your head! In the same manner, your home needs insulation at the top (your attic) because a lot of heat is lost through your ceiling plane. Being without attic insulation in the winter would be like taking off your hat on a snowy day: you’d immediately begin to lose body heat and feel colder.
Besides the loss of comfort, a lack of (or inadequate) attic insulation and air sealing affects your budget as well. The reason you don’t want the air inside your home to escape in winter is because you’ve paid good money to heat your home to the desired temperature. When your expensive conditioned air escapes outside through the attic, either by leaking through areas that are not well sealed or is lost to conductive heat transfer due to low or no insulation, your heater has to work double to regulate the temperature again and your system is less efficient, costing you more money. The more energy used, the more money spent on high energy bills with less comfort and less savings.
But once you know what the problem is, the solution is simple. Sealing the attic plane and then insulating it sufficiently helps to contain the conditioned air in your home. No air can get out through attic plane leakage, and the proper insulation slows down the hot to cold transfer allowing your heating system to retain your comfort level in your home!
The reverse is true in the summer. When it’s really hot outside, your roof shingles begin to bake and that heat is then radiated into your attic. Then all of that heat wants to find somewhere cold to transfer to. You’re running your AC unit inside, and now the heat from outside is pounding into your house, trying to transfer to where it can meet the cold space. Insulation is the barrier that helps to break down that heat before it can hit your sheetrock and thereby transfer via conduction into your home.
Once again, attic insulation is proven to be the first and most effective first step to a more comfortable and energy efficient home. Wall insulation can be important as well. Sometimes, if you have a crawl space or certain types of slab situations, floor insulation can also be beneficial.
Just remember: Hot air is always trying to get to the cold air, so in the winter, heat is trying to escape from your home, and we want to have insulation, like a warm blanket, trying to keep it in. Conversely, in the summer, the heat is trying to enter your home, making it hotter! In this scenario we want a blanket of insulation to repel or break down that heat.
That’s why insulation has an R-value. “R” stands for resistance. The level of insulation you have is always determined to have a resistance value, as in, how much heat it can resist before it enters your home.
R ratings work like this: insulation with a higher R-value, such as R-38, R-44 or even higher, shows a large amount of insulation that does a very good job of resisting heat whether it is trying to enter or exit your home. A low R Value, or no insulation would be very ineffective at slowing this transfer of heat and would allow your home to quickly adhere to the outside temperatures and would take a lot of $$$ in Energy bills to keep the home at your desired comfort level.
So that stuff in your attic that you hardly ever see is actually pretty AMAZING! Insulation is the first key to a comfortable home! Key #2 is to ensure that your insulation is installed correctly because insulation that is not properly installed may be little better than none at all.
Here at Pink Your Home we specialize in installing both wall, attic and all other types of insulation to the highest standards. You can count on our team to be well educated in how to install your attic insulation to get the results that you need!