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10 Things to Consider Before Adding Insulation To Your Attic

Published on January 17, 2019

As your energy bills increase, it becomes much more of a priority to make your home more efficient by adding insulation to your attic. Your attic may not be properly insulated or has old and deteriorating insulation that may be costing you thousands of dollars. Renewing the insulation in your attic is a great idea but there are a few important factors to consider.

1. What is the Best Insulation for Your Attic?

Your home consists of many different zones in terms of insulation needs. What goes in the basement may not work properly in the attic. There are two different products that are ideal for attic insulation:

  • Spray foam insulation is ideal for attics because it offers complete coverage of corners and tricky spaces that could be incorporated into the design of your attic. Spray foam insulation material is made up partially of plastics which are negative on the environment. Spray foam insulation can also only be installed under the right conditions for proper coverage and can be complicated to complete the project.
  • Cellulose insulation is a fibrous and shapeable material made from 85% recycled paper products and is the preferred product of experienced installers. Cellulose insulation is easy to install and is ultra efficient in function. Overall, it should be your first choice when deciding which product to use.

The attic in your home can easily cause increased energy consumption and choosing the right insulation product is critical for maintaining comfort and efficiency. Blown-in cellulose insulation is the best option for insulating your home effectively, economically and with the smallest impact on the environment.

2. Which R-Value do You Need for Your Attic?

The most important number to consider when it comes to adding insulation to your attic is it's R-Value, which represents it's resistance to heat. The higher the R-Value, the greater resistance to heat and more efficient the product is. Geographic areas with colder climates use heating equipment more frequently and higher R-Value insulation is needed to be more effective. The attic in your home can be more problematic as they are notorious for leaks and cracks and are known as a major cause of increased energy bills. Insulation in your attic should be of a higher value and in colder climates, R-49 is the common rating used which provides 16 to 18 inches of insulative material. That being said, it is the recommended R-Value for attics in Canada. On the other hand, southern climates can go as low as R-38 to maintain efficiency which provides a 13 to 14 inch insulative wall. When looking for attic insulation, always consider the R-Value to ensure you are installing the proper material that will get the job done.

3. How Long does Insulation Last in the Attic?

There is no doubt that insulation is a big job to be done in your home but if installed properly with quality and appropriate materials, the energy savings alone would make it worth the cost of installation. Generally speaking, insulation could last 15 to 20 years before it starts sagging and losing shape - reducing effectiveness. Factors such as moisture, mold and dust can greatly reduce the functionality of your home’s insulation and may actually be reducing air quality as it breaks down. Leaks in basement foundations and attics can also ruin entire panels of insulation with just a few drops of water.

4. Is Attic Insulation Energy Efficient?

Maximizing energy consumption in your home is an uphill battle as there are many opportunities for hot or cooled air to escape causing your HVAC equipment to work that much harder to maintain the desired temperature. Areas such as basements and attics can directly affect how  energy efficient your home is and even minor cracks can waste hundreds if not thousands of dollars in excess energy spending. This is where home insulation comes in to help with your home’s efficiency.

Properly installed and rated insulation material will create a barrier between the outside and the inside keeping warm or cooled air inside the home. This will require less work from your home’s HVAC systems. Key areas around your home such as the basement and especially the attic could be draining your wallet with increased energy consumption. Adding insulation to your attic is the most reliable way to prevent air losses from the top of your home and to reduce the workload on your furnace and air conditioner. There are two ways to save money when upgrading and installing the latest insulation products in your attic:

  • HVAC equipment does not have to operate on longer cycles to compensate for air leaks and drafts which cause the home’s temperature to fluctuate depending on the season. Less operating means less consumption of energy such as natural gas and electricity resulting in lower bills from local utilities.
  • Shorter run times on heating and cooling units means less wear and tear and longer times between repairs. The HVAC systems in your home will last longer, run more efficiently and require less repairs and maintenance which can save you hundreds of dollars per year.

In certain situations, you can save 10% to 50% off your energy bills when you fully insulate your attic with blown-in cellulose insulation. Not only will this insulation save you money but it will also help the environment by reducing energy consumption and your home’s carbon footprint. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper products which also saves space in landfills, ultimately helping the environment.

5. What are the Benefits of Removing Old Attic Insulation?

When you decide it is time to replace or upgrade your current insulation material, it makes sense to start with a complete insulation by removing all old and existing insulation material.

  • Old insulation may be infested with mold or other toxins over time and this could be affecting the indoor air quality of your home.
  • Older insulation may have lost most of its ability to insulate your home and is just taking up space in your attic. A new installation will immediately boost your home’s energy efficiency.
  • A new install of the latest insulation in your attic could increase resale value when it comes time to sell.
  • Removing old insulation material and replacing it with new insulation will decrease the operating costs of your home, saving you money.
  • Older insulation may be home to outside animals or other nests. Completely removing the material from your home will increase your quality of life as well as promote a healthy indoor environment.

6.  When is the Best Time to Insulate Your Home?

The best times of the year for upgrading or adding insulation to your attic are definitely before the peak of any season. You will see energy saving benefits in both the winter and summer seasons. Ideally, you should schedule your project in spring or fall so that your home is properly sealed for the extreme sides of the seasons. Other factors to consider are:

  • Other ongoing renovations. If walls are down, it might be a good time to upgrade current insulation material.
  • Total project cost. If it is too expensive to redo your entire home, it might make sense to break up the project and re-insulate critical areas like your attic first.

7.  Is it Time to Upgrade Your Home’s Insulation?

Residential home insulation generally has a long lifespan, but it does not last forever and insulation material can experience wear and tear as time goes on. Here are some signs that it might be time to upgrade your home’s insulation:

  • If there are spikes in hydro and natural gas utility bills. Increases can either be gradual or sudden depending on the amount of air loss and the condition of your home’s insulation.
  • Cold pockets around your home means that colder air from the outside may be entering due to non-functioning insulation. Areas that are hotter than the rest of your home would occur during warmer months.
  • Detecting leaks on the exterior of your home means all the insulation around the area would need to be replaced. Insulation material does not react well to moisture and loses most of its air blocking functionality.
  • A full replacement of insulation is recommended if your home is older or if you cannot account for past maintenance on your home.
  • If there are frequent breakdowns of your heating and cooling equipment. This means that the systems have to work much harder to maintain desired temperatures when air loss to the outside occurs.
  • Floors and closets may be colder than the rest of the upper level when insulation in the attic loses its ability to block air movement.
  • Nearby insulation would have to be replaced if your home experiences any type of flood damage or plumbing failure once repairs are made and the area is restored.

Make sure to keep accurate records, invoices and paperwork whenever you are upgrading or are adding insulation to your attic.

 8. Is Attic Insulation a DIY Project?

Tackling any insulation project for your attic is a multistep process that must be completed thoroughly to enjoy the benefits of attic insulation. Certified professionals with residential experience understand how to safely remove old insulation material and will perform detailed inspections and assessments during the project. Trained crews will have all the proper equipment and safety gear to ensure a smooth and complete insulation project. Installation experts can also spot potential problems along the way and offer solutions to correct any insulation and air flow related issues. You can expect reduced stress and complete satisfaction when hiring a professional team for your attic insulation project.

9. Can You Save Money by Adding Insulation to Your Attic?

Renovations can be an exciting way to enhance your home but there is only one home improvement project that offers the best return on investment in both resale value and immediate operational savings. Installing high performance insulation in your attic is the fastest way to see real savings off your monthly energy bills. Properly installed insulation will prevent heat from escaping in the winter months and entering during the summer months, reducing the workload for your HVAC system. Less work means less energy consumption and lower utility bills. Homes with recently upgraded or installed insulation can also ask for higher prices when put on the market.

10. Is Attic Insulation Really Worth it?

Using a trained and experienced installer for your insulation project is the best decision you can make to get the job done right the first time. Professional crews will have the best insulation products and the latest equipment to ensure a complete installation job that you can depend on. Upgrading or replacing your home’s insulation makes financial sense as well as you can save anywhere from 10-50% on your home energy spending once the project is complete. The savings over 10 or 20 years will far outweigh the initial investment. Other benefits of new and upgraded insulation:

  • New insulation will dampen sounds and echoes and will actually make your home a quieter and more peaceful space.
  • Air quality will improve as older insulation can break down and pollute indoor air.
  • Upgraded and quality insulation materials will help regulate humidity and temperature in your home, making it easier on your heating and cooling equipment. Controlling humidity is a key factor in preventing toxic mold from developing which will also improve and maintain air quality.

The Professionals at EcoComfort are Experts at Residential Insulation

There is a lot to consider when thinking about upgrading or adding insulation to your attic but you can always rely on the trained professionals at EcoComfort for all your residential insulation needs. Our crews have extensive experience when it comes to residential insulation. You can count on our expertise for the most thorough and complete insulation job in your home. We use insulation products that conform to strict government standards and have minimal impacts on the environment. Our highly trained crews are there every step of the way. From removing old material safely to inspections to installing your chosen insulation product, we will make sure you are completely satisfied with the job. If you feel there are uneven spots in your home or are just unsure of the status of your attic insulation, contact us today for an in-home assessment. Call us at 416-333-4554 or visit https://www.ecocomfortinsulators.ca/services/attic-insulation-upgrades for more information.

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