For most people, the attic is an afterthought. If used at all, the attic tends to be a storage area which is seldom visited, and even less frequently thought about. However, the insulation in your attic can have a profound effect on your heating and cooling efficiency, and by proxy, your bills each month. We asked home improvement professionals at Allied Experts to explain just how your attic’s insulation matters and how it can affect your home’s cooling capabilities (seeing how it’s the summer).
Here’s what they told us.
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Do I Need Attic Insulation at All?
To be blunt – yes, all parts of your home should be insulated, and that includes your attic. If you do not have insulation in your attic, chances are that your heating and cooling bills are significantly higher than they have to be.
In fact, DOE has listed attic insulation as one of the points when discussing home improvement options to boost home’s energy efficiency. The best part is that attic insulation isn’t even that expensive, ranging somewhere in the 1-5 thousand range. Although not insignificant, it is still affordable to most people.
How Much Insulation Is Needed?
The amount of insulation your attic will require is largely dependent on where in the US you are. If you live somewhere where the temperatures are extreme, like Arizona, thicker insulation can be highly beneficial. On the other hand, if you live in a more temperate climate, you may not need to go ham on it.
However, you should probably discuss the thickness and type of insulation you need with a contractor or a HVAC professional. They will be able to assess your home, and with their local knowledge of climate and conditions, they can recommend the best option. Just make sure to take at least 2-3 opinions.
How Does Your AC Benefit from Insulation?
In simple terms – your AC will have to work less. It will conserve electricity, which is always a boon, but it will also increase its longevity. Couple that with regular maintenance, and your AC can last you for a very long time.
Temperatures tend towards an equilibrium. That means that a significantly colder object (like your home) will tend to try equalize the temperature with the air around your house – thus heating your home again. Insulation helps keep the energy transfer to a minimum. Insulating materials aren’t good conductors of warmth.
This way, once cooled air will remain in your home and not escape through the non-insulated attic as quickly, meaning your AC will have to work less. The same thing applies to your furnace and heating your home in winter.
Does Adding Attic Insulation Increase Home Value?
If you are able to lower your heating and cooling costs only through adding insulation – congratulations. Your home has just moved up in terms of energy efficiency. This term has become more and more important to people who are looking to buy a house.
In fact, seeing how it is recommended by the DOE, you can list this home improvement on the list of amenities for your home. And it does bring value, too. Some estimates put the ROI at about 116% on your original investment.
Most new homes come with attic installation built-in, due to the energy efficiency laws and by-laws. However, if your home is older, it is possible that you do not have insulation, or that the insulation in your attic needs to be replaced to increase its effectiveness.
All in all, adding insulation to your attic is a worthwhile effort, both if you are looking to boost your home’s market value and if you want to cut your overheads.