Your Attic is Burning Your Paycheck, Series Part 1: Insulation
Part 2: Radiant barrier
As the summer months approach, those of us in the southern states and the mid-west will be anxiously budgeting for our increased electricity bills. Will your air conditioner be working overtime, or will you sacrifice comfort to
offset the cost? If you live in an apartment or condo your fate is sealed, but if you own your own home, you have control over your sweaty destiny.
I think you would agree that most home builders have one thing in common. They take the cheapest route possible. I could throw out a bunch of stats and figures that you would have to research to verify, or I can just give you facts based on my education and
experience as a contractor to help your situation. If you have not added to your attic insulation in the last five years, then you do not have enough. If you are not permanently shading your attic with some sort of radiant barrier, then you are paying for the sun’s abuse.
The thickness of your attic insulation means nothing. Age, moisture, and even living pests can compress and deteriorate your attic insulation. The type of insulation you use determines the thickness you need to attain your desired R-value. R-value is value of thermal resistance assigned to all construction materials. You need at least an R-38 evenly distributed to insulate the floor of your attic.
Out of the five mainstream types of attic insulation, spray applied fiberglass is the most popular because of its versatility and cost effectiveness. With this type of insulation you need about 15 inches, depending on the manufacturer (the specs are printed on each bag). The problem with the sprayed fiberglass is the inexperienced or “less than honest” installers.
When you are choosing a contractor to help you with you insulation project
- Every attic is different. Ask for a detailed estimate.
- It does not matter how long they have been doing it, or how qualified they are; if they do not spend at least 15 minutes inspecting and accurately measuring your attic, then they cannot accurately give you a quote.
- Their educated guess could cost you an extra $500 you didn’t need to spend.
- Get a detailed Attic Card explaining exactly how much material they used and where. It is required by federal law.
As always, HailandWind.com would be happy to recommend an excellent contractor upon request.