Step-By-Step Process For You To Check Your Attic Insulation
We’ve created a step-by-step, simple to follow, process for you to check your own attic insulation.
Quick note – most homes have attic access in at least one of a few places:
- Hallway access (between bedrooms) and generally have a drop-down ladder
- Closet access from one of your bedroom closets (you’ll need a ladder)
- Walk-in access from the upstairs hallway
- Carport access from the exterior of the home (you’ll most likely need a ladder here too)
So, here we go!
Step 1: Grab a ruler or a tape measure, and a ladder if you need it
Step 2: Find your attic access
Step 3: Access your attic (you may have to move your Christmas decorations or … whatever)
Step 4: Eye Spy your insulation
Ok, time out.
This is where we need to help educate a little so that you can determine your insulation status and you need to know just enough here to be dangerous. First of all, let’s talk about R-Value.
By definition, according to our friends at Merriam-Webster, R-Value is a measure of resistance to the flow of heat through a given thickness of a material (as insulation) with higher numbers indicating better insulating properties, i.e; R-38 has a greater resistance to the flow of heat than R-11.
Makes sense? Sort of? Ok, in layman’s terms, the more insulation you have the cozier you’ll be when its freezing outside. There, that makes sense to me.
But, how do I know what the R-Value is for my insulation? (I know, I just read your mind right?) Great question. See, each type of insulation has a specific R-Value PER INCH for that specific insulation. Here’s a chart that breaks down the most common types of insulation and their R-Values.
|What you see:||What it probably is||R-Value per Inch||6″ of product|
|Loose fibers||light-weight yellow, pink, or white||2.5||R-15|
|dense gray or near white, may have black specs||rock wool||2.8||R-17|
|small gray flat pieces or fibers (from newsprint)||cellulose||3.7||R-22|
|Fiberglass Batts||light-weight yellow, pink, or white||2.9||R-17|
Just have to say two things … if you don’t see any insulation, please know that you most definitely need some and the chart above only uses 6” as an example. If you have more or less you’ll have to do a little math.
Step 5: Measure the depth of insulation in your attic
Step 6: Multiply the depth by the R-Value per Inch found in the chart above
Now you know what the R-Value is in your home. Congratulations, you did great! One more step, based on your new discovery you need to determine if what you have is sufficient or deficient, it’s one or the other.
Sufficient R-Value will provide comfort and energy savings. Deficient R-Value will help your utility company get rich, while making you energy poor. It can also create more work for your heater, and air conditioner in the summer, and reduce their efficiency and life span. Lastly, deficient R-Values will keep you from feeing all warm and cozy during the long winter months.
So, how do I know if I’m sufficient or deficient? Great question. Here’s a chart from the
U.S. Department of Energy which tells us exactly what R-Value we should have for our neck of the woods:
As you can see, the U.S.Department of Energy recommends higher amounts of R-Value the further North you’re located, and lower amounts the further South.
Step 7: Subtract your R-Value (which you determined in Step 6) from the recommended R-Value for your location. This is the amount of R-Value that you need for sufficient insulation.
How did you do? Do you have a sufficient amount of insulation? Are you deficient? If you found that you were deficient, honestly, you’re in good company. The truth is that most home builders never put enough insulation in our attics, and unless you’re losing sleep about it, most homeowners never even think to check.
Ok, so I found out I’m lacking in the insulation department and that I’m obviously losing money (maybe a lot of money) and I need to do something about it. Now what?
You’re just full of great questions! If you remember back to the first chart that gave the R-Values of specific insulation types, you’ll notice that cellulose insulation provides the greatest resistance to heat flow. That’s why we chose cellulose insulation for our customers.
We want our customers to save the most money possible and to be super comfortable in their homes. So, we install blown-in cellulose insulation for homeowners throughout our service area.
If you would like more information on our blow-in cellulose, make a quick call to our office and we will provide you with a pretty good idea of how much you can save in energy bills by speaking to one of our energy experts.
Don’t lose sleep tonight! The call is free and you’d be amazed at what a properly insulated home will do for your comfort, and your pocket.
Call today at 731-285-4982 or visit our website here.
Have a Great Week,