Having an attic in your Las Vegas, NV, home is a bonus. However, an attic is notorious for allowing cooled air to escape. While it is great for storage, the attic can be more than that; it can be another usable room. Whether you want to finish the attic to use as an additional room or you just want to make your home more energy-efficient, you do want to insulate it. At The Cooling Company, we can provide helpful tips and expertise. Here is a guide to attic insulation to get you started.
Inspect the Attic
Before you hire a professional to insulate your attic, begin the process by inspecting the space. This is the best time to find out what needs to be fixed, sealed, and replaced. You are looking for cracks and anything that is broken or faulty. If there are cracks where water can get in, your new insulation is going to get damaged. If there is mold or signs of animals, you’ll need to get that taken care of before getting your attic insulated.
You will also want to clean your attic. Your goal is to get rid of as much dust, dirt, and other particles as you can. Then, you’ll want to take a look at the existing insulation and its condition. It is estimated that 90% of homes are under-insulated. Also, if the current material is worn out, you might consider removing all of the old insulation. Once you have an understanding of exactly what you have, you can look into what costs you will incur to fully insulate the attic space.
Prepare the Attic
Before the first portion of insulation is placed by the professionals, double-check that the attic is fully prepared. Insulation is going to provide you with a host of benefits, but you want to make sure that the material will not be placed over areas that are going to work against it. You will want to seal air leaks around the windows with minimally-expanding spray foam. Then, use fire-blocking caulk around pipes, wires, and exhaust fans as well as ducts.
If you discover water stains on any surface, it means that there are water leaks. Those must be repaired, too. If you find evidence of rodents, bats, birds, or insects, you may need a professional to make necessary repairs. Be sure to take care of all of these issues before placing insulation as any of these situations could ruin the new product.
The Amount of Insulation You Will Need
You need to know how much insulation you need. How much you need will depend in part on how you will use the space. At a minimum, most homeowners will want to at least insulate the floor so they’re not losing cooled air through the roof. If you’re finishing the attic to use as a living space, then the walls and ceiling will need insulation as well.
To a certain extent, there are several charts online you can use as a guide. You can also consult a professional who works with heating and cooling and insulation. They can help you know how much insulation you’ll need based on the location, landscaping, square footage of the space, and other elements of your property; every home is different.
The effectiveness of insulation is measured by the R-value, where R stands for resistance. Different regions require different R-values. Las Vegas falls into R-value Zone 3. The R-value recommended for Zone 3 is 30-60. This determines how thick you need the insulation to be. You can layer insulation to reach the required R-value. For instance, you can stack insulation with R-19 on top of R-30 to reach R-49. Based on the R-value and the amount of current, good quality insulation in your home, you can estimate how much additional insulation will be required for the job.
Types of Insulation Available
There are at least five types of insulation at your disposal: rolls or blanket batting, spray foam, blown-in or loose-fill, foam board or rigid foam panels, and reflective or radiant barrier. Each one has an optimal purpose. Spray foam, for example, is used as a finishing product. It is great for hard-to-reach areas as it plugs difficult-to-reach gaps. It also expands.
Batting is made from fiberglass, mineral wool, and cotton. Every type of batting has a different R-value. If you pick cotton batting, it is made from the fibers of recycled denim cloth and has an R-value of 3.7 to 3.8 per inch. Batting is recommended for attic insulation.
Loose-fill is made from fiberglass, cellulose, and mineral wool. If you opt for loose-fill made from mineral wool, it has an R-value of 3.0 to 3.3 per inch. This combination tends to be fire-resistant, too. Professionals are going to make their recommendation based on the current condition of your attic and what you are trying to achieve.
Attic Insulation Tips
The nice thing about hiring professionals to handle your attic’s insulation installment is that they are well-versed in all the tricks and tips of the trade. When they purchase the insulation material, they know the type that will be best suited for your home and circumstances.
Hiring professionals for an attic insulation job also means that the material will be even. This is extremely important. Plus, they are going to double-check for gaps. Any gaps will be filled according to the best practices. No spots will be missed so that your investment is given the opportunity to maximize returns.
Benefits of Attic Insulation
There are four main reasons why homeowners decide to insulate their attic. Those reasons are:
- Value and savings
- Preventing ice dams
It is well-documented that indoor air can easily escape through a home’s attic or basement. This is not energy efficient or friendly for the environment. If you have to run your HVAC unit longer, you will consume more energy and have to pay more toward your utilities. Of course, wasted energy has an impact on the environment, too.
The longer your home stays at the temperature you desire, the more comfortable you are going to be inside. Insulation also creates a sound barrier, which is a nice feature that some individuals enjoy.
Lower energy bills mean that you can spend that money somewhere else. Also, the increased energy efficiency means that you are using your heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment less. With less wear and tear, the equipment should last longer. In addition, insulation helps with moisture control, so mold and bacteria are less likely to thrive.
It gets blistering hot in Las Vegas during the summer. It can also get very cold during long winter nights. For those times, insulation works to keep your heated air in. Overall, proper insulation in the attic can help you maintain a more constant temperature in your home year-round.
At The Cooling Company in Las Vegas, we can help you insulate your attic. We also offer installation, repair, and maintenance plans for heating and cooling systems. If you have more questions about attic insulation or any of our services, feel free to give us a call today and schedule an appointment.