Attic Insulation Tips

How to Insulate Your Attic so Your House Stays Comfortable All Year Round

By Mark J. Donovan

All of us know that hot air rises, however many homeowners neglect to inspect their attic for proper attic insulation. Improperly installed or inadequate attic insulation is a leading cause of heat loss in the home, and consequently attic insulation should be checked prior to each winter.

The homeowner should first check to see if the attic insulation is adequate. Increasing your home’s attic insulation from three to twelve inches can save you up to 20% in your heating bills. A properly insulated attic should have at least 9.5 to 12 inches, R-30/R-38 respectively, of attic insulation in it.

Any attic insulation that is lifted should be replaced such that it sits properly up against the sheetrocked ceiling surface.

If you are planning to add rolled insulation over your existing insulation, make sure you lay it perpendicular to the attic insulation that is already installed. This will help to create a tighter seal. Make sure, however, you do not cover lighting fixtures, soffit vents and fan exhaust vents.

On shallow roof pitches use Attic Rafter vents to insure the rolled insulation does not block the soffit vents.

If you are replacing attic insulation make sure you install a vapor barrier first (e.g. 4-6 mil thick polyethylene plastic).

The vapor barrier should go under the first layer of attic insulation and towards the warm side. If a vapor barrier is not used condensation will form and create mold and mildew damage in the attic and ceilings.

If you plan to use faced insulation, then the polyethylene sheets are not required. Just lay the faced insulation paper side down so that it is in contact with the sheetrocked ceiling material.

Note: InsulatiUse fire retardant foam insulation and/or caulk around bathroom ceiling fans to ensure a tight seal. Apply the caulk from below to create a good seal around the seams.

on should be kept 3-4 inches away from recessed lighting fixtures to prevent fire, unless the lighting fixture is marked “I.C.”, Insulated Ceiling.

If you have an attic door, apply weather stripping around the seams and insulate the backside of the door.

With these few basic attic insulation tips you can significantly reduce your winter heating bills.

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