The only way to know for sure whether your attic has enough insulation is to schedule an inspection with a licensed insulation contractor. We can tell you whether your insulation is sufficient, and we can also inspect the attic to look for any signs of potential water damage or pest infestations, both of which compromise insulation performance. Spring and fall are good times to augment it if needed to reap the most energy savings.
We recommend having a professional inspection if your home is 15-years old or more and hasn’t had an insulation update. If your home is 10-years old or less, it’s still worth taking a peek in your attic to see if you see any signs that the insulation needs some attention.
Even if your home is relatively newer, it’s incredible how quickly the insulation in the attic is disturbed or dismantled. Internet and cable technicians are notorious for penetrating, cutting away, or moving insulation to do their work – and failing to cover their tracks when they’re complete.
Any electrical or plumbing work performed in the past years may have also compromised your insulation’s performance. And, there’s always the chance that pest or water damage requires immediate attention.
1. Access your attic safely, using a ladder, and use a flashlight to look out across the attic space.
2. If the levels are just at, or below, the top of the floor joists, you need more.
3. If the levels are above the floor joists, measure the insulation depth in a variety of locations to determine whether the R-Value is adequate.
4. Every inch provides an average R-Value of 3. You can do the math and compare your R-Value with this map of recommended R-Values from energystar.gov.
5. Use the 12- to 15-inches rule, which is the recommended level to achieve an R-Value of 38.
If it's close to the recommended guidelines, you can probably get away with throwing extra batts or blowing more loose-fill up there, depending on the type of insulation you have and whatever else your attic inspection might uncover.
If your insulation is far from sufficient, or you can tell existing damage requires further removal, repair or replacement, contact licensed insulation contractors in your area to get the job done right.
As long as you’re up in the attic, we recommend inspecting a little further, looking for signs of the following:
Air leaks are as detrimental to interior comfort and energy efficiency as inadequate or damaged. Look for signs of air leaks along the roofline, rafters, around plumbing or electrical penetrations, around vents, etc. If you see gaps or can feel a draft in any of these locations or elsewhere, it’s time to grab a tube of caulking and start resealing.
Visit energy.gov’s, Why Seal & Insulate?, for more on what you should be looking for. If the work is more than you’re interested in taking on, contact a local company to take over.
If insulation looks flattened, shredded, or destroyed beyond what some augmentation would correct, you’ll need to remove the old stuff and replace it. Read, Signs That it’s Time to Replace Your Insulation, for more on that topic.
While major leaks do occur, most water damage happens more undercover than that, slowly permeating through structural elements, and causing unseen mold/mildew infestations to spring up.
Any evidence of water or moisture damage requires immediate action from a licensed contractor or roofer to prevent more dramatic and expensive repairs.
Pest infestations are another problem that lead to damaged insulation, wiring or plumbing, not to mention toxicity. While small amounts of pest debris can be easily removed, large-scale pest infestations should be cleaned up and repaired by professionals.
Finally, if your attic requires additional insulation, or removal and replacement, odds are your crawl spaces need attention as well. Without adequate insulation, your wide-open crawl space becomes a vacuum for hot and cold, which then penetrates up through your floors and into your home.
Would you like a professional attic insulation contractor to determine whether there’s enough insulation in your attic? Contact the pros at Attic Solutions for local, experienced, and affordable service.