Extra insulation is the key to boosting efficiency in your home throughout the entire year. The attic is one of the most important areas to have well-insulated, and it’s generally the easiest one to overlook. Here are four critical considerations for your attic insulation project, whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional.
Attic Insulation Benefits
The attic is the final barrier between your home and the outside world. It also traps a large amount of conditioned air, so you’re paying to heat or cool a lot of extra square footage without getting any benefit. By adding insulation to the attic, you can significantly cut down on the energy needed to keep your house at the right temperature. This insulation also acts as a barrier for air leaks and outside temperatures, significantly decreasing heat loss or gain from the roof.
The easiest way to insulate an attic is with fiberglass batts – basically, it’s just a matter of rolling the material out over the entire attic. It’s not the only option, and you don’t have to pick just one. Consider these:
- Loose fill insulation may need professional installation, but it’s one of the warmest attic insulation options.
- Spray foam insulation isn’t just a small-scale thing – it’s also a great closed-cell option for the attic. It may also need professional consultation to ensure you don’t compromise ventilation.
Combine different types of insulation as needed to achieve the right R-value for your central Georgia home. In addition to using in-home energy-saving practices, this can save significant energy.
Creating Barriers for Fixtures
Never add insulation around fixtures unless it specifically states that it’s safe with insulation. Pot lights and other such recessed lighting usually protrude into the attic, and these can be a fire hazard with insulation packed around them. Create barriers around these fixtures with wire mesh to keep insulation from pushing too close. If you’re doing loose fill insulation, the barriers may need to be solid sheet metal to ensure that all flammable material stays away from the fixtures.
When It’s Time to Call a Professional
Most attic insulation projects can be done with some time and average home DIY skills, but not all of them. Some conditions can turn the attic into a hazardous area and may be a fire risk if certain precautions aren’t taken with the insulation. The conditions that are most likely to require a professional include:
- Knob and tube wiring – This style of wiring went out of use in the 1930s, but it may still be in older houses, especially in out-of-the-way areas such as the attic. Because of the risk of fire, you should never try to insulate around it. Completely replacing the wire may be recommended before you finish this insulation project.
- Insufficient attic access – Whether you don’t have good openings to the attic or there just isn’t enough head room for you to work, limited space is a big problem in a DIY insulation project.
- Wet or moldy areas – Both the existing insulation and the rafters in your home should be completely dry. If they’re not, you could have issues with the roof, plumbing or other potentially serious moisture problems.
- Household vents that blow into the attic – Vents for dryers, bathrooms and kitchens should all lead outside, but not all of them do. The air from these vents is usually warm and moist, so it can wreak havoc on the enclosed space of the attic.
- Poor ventilation – All manner of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other such toxins can collect in the attic. With good ventilation, these toxins flow out of the house regularly, so the attic air is safe to breath. But if your attic doesn’t have good ventilation, it could be dangerous to spend prolonged amounts of time in there while working with the insulation.
Keep in mind that incorrectly installing attic insulation may put your family at risk for health problems due to poor indoor air quality or the threat of a house fire. When in doubt, always consult a professional to make sure the job gets done right.
For more information on attic insulation and how it can reduce your energy bills, contact us at Pruett Air Conditioning. We serve Eastman, Warner Robins and the surrounding area.
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