Ask yourself three questions:
- Was your home built before 1980?
- Do you have high energy bills?
- Is your house cold or drafty?
If you answered “yes” to even one of the above questions, it’s time to climb up into your attic and check the insulation before the cold winter sets in.
The attic is one of the easiest and most important areas of the home to insulate. According to the United States Department of Energy (DOE), up to 45 percent of a home’s energy is lost through the attic. The DOE recommends R-38 for attics in most areas—equal to 12” of fiber glass blanket insulation—but most older homes only have between 3” to 6” of insulation.
Installing additional insulation doesn’t cost much time or money. In fact, it’s easy to do yourself in just one day. And unlike the insulation of long-ago, Owens Corning’s MIRAFLEX® insulation is virtually itch-free. Plus, if installed properly, PINK fiberglass insulation won’t settle or deteriorate—insuring that the insulating value is maintained for the life of your home. When adding a second layer of insulation to the attic, always use the unfaced type so moisture is not trapped inside the bottom layer.
Here are some easy steps to help you add insulation to your attic:
- First, lay down some temporary flooring to give yourself footing. Install a work light so you can see easier.
- Lay the insulation blanket at the outer edge of the attic space and work toward the center. This will give you more headroom in the center of the space, where cutting and fitting can be done. Be careful not to get “insulated into a corner” where it will be hard to get back to the attic entry way.
- If the joist cavities are completely filled, lay the new insulation in long runs perpendicular to the direction of the joists, and use leftover pieces for small spaces. If the cavity is not completely filled, use the appropriate thickness of insulation to fill it to the top, then add an additional layer of insulation in the perpendicular direction.
- The insulation should extend far enough to cover the tops of the exterior walls, but should not block the flow of air from the eave vents.
- Keep insulation three inches away from recessed lighting fixtures unless the fixture is marked “I.C.” (Insulated Ceiling), which is designed for direct contact with the insulation. If you place insulation over an unrated fixture, it may cause the fixture to overheat and perhaps start a fire. Also, always install insulation at least three inches away from any metal chimneys, gas water heater flues, or other heat-producing devices.
- Stuff spaces around masonry chimneys and other areas that have small openings with small pieces of unfaced insulation.
Adding insulation in your attic has other benefits besides keeping your home warm and saving you money on your energy bill. A well-insulated home uses less energy, which means fewer pollutants are released into the atmosphere and you’re helping conserve the world’s energy resources. You’ll also increase your home’s resale value. According to nationally syndicated real estate columnist James Dulley, upgrading your attic insulation to recommended minimum levels for your area can return up to 200 percent of the cost of a do-it-yourself job when you sell your home.