Cold weather is here, and that can spell trouble for your energy bills. Proper insulation not only keeps your home feeling comfortable, it also helps keep cold drafts out and prevents heat from escaping. This isn’t a simple project, but, done correctly, it is one that will quickly pay for itself in reduced energy costs.
Here are some tips for properly insulating your attic:
1. Choose your insulation based on purpose: If you want to keep your attic cold, you’ll choose a different type of insulation than if you want to keep it warm. A cold roof requires that you insulate at the joist level to stop heat from escaping through unused roof space. A warm roof is insulated under the rafters of the actual roof.
2. Use protection: Protective clothing will guard against the discomfort of working with insulation, which can cause itching and skin reactions. You should also wear gloves, protective eye gear, and a face mask.
3. Determine whether you’ll need a vapour barrier: If you have dry wall that is silver-backed, you won’t need a vapour barrier. If you don’t, you will want to install this membrane before installing your blanket insulation.
4. Layer it up: If you are required by regulation, or for added insulation, you can run a second layer of insulation at right angles to the first.
5. Insulate any pipes: Custom-made pipe insulation makes this an easy process. You can purchase it in different diameters based on your needs, and secure it in place with tape or clamps.
6. Check for holes: Holes and extra space around the openings for pipes and ducts should be filled in using caulk.
7. Be aware of recessed lighting fixtures: Recessed lighting fixtures, when covered with insulation, can become a fire hazard. You should keep a minimum of three inches between these fixtures and any type of insulation to be safe. If you are using poured or blown-in insulation, take extra caution, because this material can, over time, drift into the fixtures.
8. Don’t compress your insulation: What makes insulation effective is the air trapped inside it, rather than the material itself. When you have compressed or stuffed insulation, it loses its effectiveness.
If you already have six inches or more of insulating material in the attic, you should look at other issues that are causing high energy bills, such as damage that might need roof repair or incorrect door and window installation that is causing drafts.
Insulating your attic is generally considered to be a more difficult DIY project, and errors can create problems for homeowners, including potential fire hazards. If you are not experienced in home renovation projects, consider hiring professional roofers who can get the job done right the first time. The benefits of proper attic insulation are enormous, and with our coldest months coming quickly, the return on investment will be almost immediate.