Attic insulation often gets overlooked, even though it's a wise long-term investment crucial to an HVAC system's effectiveness. An insulated attic is an energy-saving solution that's beneficial both for the homeowner and the environment.
Insulation works in tandem with the HVAC system, slowing down heat transfer from the outside of the building to within. Without insulation, the cost of heating or cooling a home would skyrocket.
When you live in Georgia, like here in Dallas, Acworth, and Marietta areas, you are always looking for ways to increase your comfort and lower your monthly and yearly heating and cooling costs. Before looking at the newest, most expensive HVAC equipment, you need to consider your home insulation. Having the right amount of properly-installed insulation in key areas can improve your HVAC efficiency and your home comfort.
The Importance of Attic Insulation
Good attic insulation can extend the life of an air conditioning system. Homes without attic insulation will be losing cool air constantly. This forces the air conditioner to work harder to maintain the set temperature.
The insulation in your attic provides a critical barrier to the transfer of heat. While many people recognize the important role that insulation plays in their homes, especially during the hottest and coldest months of the year, what they may not realize is that the insulation in your attic may become less effective over time. Areas like your storage rooms, attics, walls, doors, windows, and floors are all important places that need to be properly insulated to achieve maximum heating and cooling comfort and efficiency.
• Improved Comfort
• Money Savings
Increases the Value of Your Home
A correctly sized HVAC unit for your home is more efficient
When you improve your insulation, you are simultaneously improving your comfort. Because insulation works to prevent heat from escaping your home, your heating system will have to put in less work because your home will be staying warm at the proper temperature for longer. The same goes for the summertime, your insulation will be preventing heat from entering your home. That means your AC unit won’t have to work harder to balance out the outside air that is seeping in with the cool air it’s producing. With your HVAC system not having to work as hard, you will be cutting back on your energy costs and saving money little by little. Additionally, a home with good and proper insulation can be priced higher for resale. Apart from improved comfort, money savings and increased value of your home, an insulated attic helps keep the home safe. Constant temperature fluctuations can damage the roof over time, but it's easily avoidable with proper insulation. Insulation will improve your home's efficiency, allowing you to get the right-sized unit that will be more energy efficient and ultimately make your home more comfortable.
Why Remove Your Current Insulation?
As a homeowner, you probably don’t spend much time in your attic. Attics are notoriously difficult to get into and have small crawl spaces, so unless you are looking for those Christmas decorations you stored up there last year, you probably don’t have a reason to go into your attic. And for most, it is get-in, and get-out and not even noticing your insulation.
Homeowners know, inspecting their insulation will require them to carry a flashlight and walk carefully on the rafters without falling through the drywall of their ceiling. Despite the difficulty of checking your current attic insulation, it is useful to do so occasionally.
Here are some reasons why you might want to remove your current attic insulation:
Better Air Quality – Removing your current insulation may improve the indoor air quality of your home. Old insulation can contain a variety of contaminants that can affect your home’s air quality, including urine and feces from rodents and other pests.
Better Energy Efficiency – How many products do you still use today that were manufactured 20 or 30 years ago? Probably not many. The products we use every day have improved over time, due to technological innovations and the introduction of new materials. The same is true for the insulation in your attic. If your home wasn’t recently manufactured, installing new attic insulation may result in greater energy efficiency and lower energy costs.
Rodent Proofing – Insulation provides a great home for rodents and pests that are looking for a warm, comfortable place to nest. Unfortunately for many homeowners, the insulation in their attic is an attractive option for the local rodent population. If you are currently dealing with a rodent infestation, you’ll need to remove your existing attic insulation before you can take the steps to rodent-proof your attic against future incursions.
Moldy or Wet Insulation – If you have wet or moldy insulation in your attic it is a good indication that you have a leaky roof. While addressing the root cause of the damaged insulation by fixing the leak is an important first step, you’ll also need to remove the affected insulation and replace it. This will return your attic insulation to peak health and reduce your energy costs.
Lower the chance of roof damage- Apart from better air quality, better energy efficiency and health risks like rodents and mold, an insulated attic helps keep the home safe. Constant temperature fluctuations can damage the roof over time, but it's easily avoidable with proper insulation.
How many types of insulation are there?
According to the Department of Energy, there are nine different kinds of insulation. If you would like to learn more about all the different kinds of insulation click here.
However, for homeowners, the four most common insulation solutions are listed below:
Loose-Fill & Blown-In Insulation
Batt & Roll Insulation
Reflective Insulation & Radiant Barriers
Spray Foam & Foam-In-Place Insulation
It’s important to understand the pros and cons of each, so you can make an informed decision on what’s best for your home.
Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation
Loose-fill and blown-in insulation are typically made out of recycled materials like cellulose (recycled paper), fiberglass (recycled glass) or Rockwool (post-industrial recycled content). This type of insulation works exactly the way it sounds; it’s blown into open spaces and recommended for use in hard-to-reach areas like new wall cavities, existing walls and attic floors and walls.
Batt and Roll Insulation (aka, Blanket Insulation)
Batt and roll insulation, or blanket insulation, is made out of pre-cut sections of fiberglass, Rockwool or flexible fibers that are laid flat and fitted between studs, joists and beams. This relatively inexpensive insulation works best in foundation walls, unfinished walls, floors and ceilings free from obstructions (it rolls into a cavity like a blanket). Batt and roll insulation sometimes comes with a kraft paper, vinyl or foil facing that acts as an added air barrier.
Reflective Insulation and Radiant Barriers
Whether it’s made of foil-faced kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles or cardboard, reflective insulation is used to reflect heat from the sun, as opposed to absorbing it. This type of insulation is usually installed in attics because it reduces the radiant heat transfer from the roof to indoor surfaces like floors and ceilings. Radiant barriers are more cost-effective in places with hotter weather, as opposed to cold.
Spray Foam and Foam-In-Place Insulation
Of course, we saved the best for last. Spray foam insulation is one of the most effective forms of home insulation because it creates a multi-layer barrier, blocking outside air AND noise from transmitting into your home. It’s perfect for new construction walls with electrical and plumbing obstructions and even forms around existing insulation. Foam-in-place insulation has the same benefits and is injected, sprayed or poured into existing walls. It also can be blown into walls, attic surfaces or under floors and helps reduce air leakage.
If you’re considering purchasing a new HVAC system, be sure your insulation is in great shape first. Contact Cochran Complete or call 770-443-9000 to schedule a FREE Home Diagnosis before installing a new HVAC system.