Insulating your attic is one of the smartest home improvement projects you can do. It can reduce energy costs by limiting the flow of heat into your house.
It also prevents moisture from entering your attic, which can lead to ice dams and structural damage. Insulating your attic can save you money, improve your comfort and protect the environment.
1. Reduces Energy Bills
Most homes are under insulated, and insulation upgrades can save homeowners between 15 and 50 percent on their energy costs. Because attic insulation prevents the escape of warm air in winter and cool air in summer, it allows your HVAC to keep your home at optimal temperatures without overworking your system.
The most obvious benefit of proper attic insulation is lower energy bills. Heating and cooling costs make up around half of your energy usage, and insulating the attic will drastically reduce your home’s heating and cooling needs.
In addition to saving money, a properly insulated attic also helps maintain good indoor air quality (IAQ). This means less dust and other pollutants like mold spores from entering your home, making it healthier for you and your family. This is especially important for those with asthma and allergies.
2. Increases Home Value
When it comes to home improvements that increase resale value, new decks, fireplaces and two-car garages are usually the first things to come to mind. However, a less-seen yet extremely important feature of homes is insulation.
Proper attic insulation will prevent heat from rising into living spaces and reduce energy bills, saving homeowners between 15 and 50 percent annually. This translates into savings on heating and cooling costs and also helps keep indoor temperatures more consistent throughout the year.
Insulation can be installed in older homes that may have bare attics, and also in new construction homes with open attics where it’s easy to install cellulose or fiberglass loose-fill insulation. When installing loose-fill, gaps around pipes, hoses, vents and electrical penetrations can be filled with fireproof caulk for added protection. This helps prevent warm air from seeping into the living space during winter.
3. Reduces Moisture
Attic insulation helps regulate the temperature in your home, keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer. Insulation also reduces humidity fluctuations that can cause condensation and mold.
When moisture accumulates in the attic due to old roofing or inadequate insulation, it can leak into the living spaces below and cause structural damage. This is why it’s important to have attic insulation that is moisture resistant.
Fiberglass and cellulose insulation are both moisture-resistant, but cellulose has the added advantage of being able to detect moisture and “waive the white flag” much faster than fiberglass. This prevents moisture from ruining the integrity of the insulation, which can cause it to sag and lose its efficiency. It also keeps mold, mildew and fungus from growing, which can affect your health. This is especially important for young children and those with allergies or respiratory illnesses.
4. Reduces Airborne Pollutants
Insufficient attic insulation allows outdoor pollutants like mildew, dust and dirt to seep into your home through air leaks. This contaminates indoor air quality, which can affect everyone in your house, but is particularly dangerous for children and people with respiratory illnesses. Proper attic insulation keeps the heat in, thereby blocking out these airborne pollutants and improving indoor air quality.
More consistent temperatures from ceiling to floor are another benefit of attic insulation. This makes rooms more comfortable and less drafty, especially in homes with cathedral ceilings.
Attic insulation also acts as a sound barrier, which is ideal for anyone who lives near a busy road or construction site. If you use open cell spray foam as your insulation, it can muffle even more noise. However, cellulose and fiberglass are not as effective for this purpose.
5. Reduces Allergens
While attic insulation doesn’t get as much attention as kitchen or bathroom remodels, it is one of the most cost-effective energy upgrades available. This is because insulating an attic prevents heat from seeping into living spaces.
This reduces the need for constant air conditioning and lowers energy bills. Plus, it keeps temperatures more consistent throughout the house, especially if you have cathedral ceilings.
Uninsulated attics allow pollutants to enter the home, including dust, pollen, fungus and other allergens. These allergens can cause a host of health problems, such as watery eyes, nose and throat irritation, itchy skin and asthma. By adding blown in insulation, you can eliminate these allergens from entering your home. This is because insulation seals tiny gaps and crevices that would otherwise let them in.
6. Keeps Pests Out
Insulation isn’t just a barrier for heat, cold and moisture; it can help keep pests out of your home too. This is because blown insulation forms a physical barrier that can help prevent rodents and insects from entering your attic or walls. Here is an article that provides tips for Attic Insulation for First Time Home Owners.
Rodents like warm, soft spaces to nest, which is why they are drawn to attics and the soft cellulose in home insulation. However, they can also cause structural damage to the home when they burrow through it, and they often leave behind fecal matter that degrades air quality.
Newer insulating products, such as cellulose, have boric acid added to them, which helps control and prevent pest infestations. Additionally, spray insulation can completely fill the spaces between studs, creating a solid barrier that can keep out bugs, rodents and other unwanted pests. This can keep them from chewing through wires in your attic, which can cause dangerous electrical problems and fire hazards for homeowners.
7. Stops Ice Dams
You may think of ice dams as just a part of winter weather, but they can do serious damage to your home. When left untreated, ice dams can cause roof leaks, water seepage through the roof and into walls, as well as mold and mildew.
When properly insulated, your attic protects the home from the formation of ice dams. Icice dams occur when melting snow re-freezes at colder roof edges and prevents the water from draining off the roof. When the ice dam grows too large, it can tear off gutters, loosen shingles and allow water to back up under shingles and into the home.
Insulating your attic with fiberglass batt or blown-in insulation can prevent this damage from occurring. You will not only keep your home safe and comfortable, you will also save money on energy costs year after year.
8. Reduces Noise
When you invest in proper attic insulation, your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work as hard. This will help extend the lifespan of your appliances while lowering your energy bills.
Insulation also reduces the sound from outside entering your home, including traffic and weather noise as well as noises from your furnace and attic fan. This will make your home more peaceful.
Adding the correct amount of attic insulation is an easy DIY project. The best options are fiberglass batts, mineral wool or loose-fill cellulose. These are made of recycled materials and come in a variety of R-Values for your climate zone. The higher the R-Value, the better the insulating power. It is important to install only unfaced insulation, which means it doesn’t have a kraft paper or foil moisture barrier on one side.
9. Increases Comfort
When your home has proper insulation, it helps regulate indoor temperatures and take some of the strain off your HVAC system. This is especially important during the winter when high heating bills are common.
Insulation also works to reduce the amount of noise that carries from room to room. Open cell spray foam is particularly good for sound attenuation.
Adding insulation, especially to your attic, is an affordable way to improve your home. Not only will you save on your energy bills, but you’ll be more comfortable at home as well. And if you’re thinking about selling your house in the future, a well-insulated attic will increase your home’s value. That makes it a smart investment for any homeowner. So if you’re not already insulated, now is the time to get started. Contact your local home improvement professional for more information.
10. Increases Home Value
While home improvements like adding an outdoor deck or a two-car garage are good for increasing your property value, insulating your attic is even better. It may not be something that immediately stands out to potential buyers, but the energy savings will help them justify paying a premium for your home.
Heat rises, and without insulation in your attic, it can cause uncomfortable temperature swings throughout the house, especially if bedrooms are located on lower floors. Proper attic insulation prevents warm air from escaping into the living spaces, helping your heating systems run more efficiently and saving you money on energy bills.
Investing in a high-quality fiberglass or blown-in insulation will make your home more comfortable and save you money on your utility bills. It will also protect your roof, keeping it safe from damage and prolonging its lifespan.