There are several options when it comes to insulation for attics. A well-insulated attic will save you money on energy bills and extend the life of your roof and HVAC system. If your attic’s insulation is thin and loose, or if it’s nonexistent, you’re likely getting lower-quality conditioned air into your home. You could even be experiencing high energy bills during hot months. You may be asking yourself whether attic insulation is worth doing.
The different types of attic insulation include:
- spray foam
There are pros and cons to each type of insulation. So carefully decide which one you should use in your home.
An attic in your Las Vegas, Nevada, home is a bonus. However, an attic is notorious for allowing cooled air to escape. While it is excellent 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.
Does Your Attic Have Insulation?
Even if it does, chances are it isn’t enough. But don’t worry; we are here to help you sort out the essential details regarding attic insulation.
Insulation reduces noise, but fiberglass is better at reducing heat loss. At The Cooling Company, we can provide helpful tips and expertise on attic insulation. Here is a guide to attic insulation to get you started.
What Is Attic Insulation?
Attic insulation is a material that helps keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It’s often made of fiberglass or cellulose; both are considered “natural materials” that don’t emit harmful gasses. The purpose of attic insulation is to reduce heat transfer between the outside and inside of your home, keeping it more comfortable for you to live in year-round. Insulation also aims to protect the homeowner’s pocket by regulating energy efficiency.
The Main Types of Attic Insulation Are:
Rigid Foam Board: Rigid foam board is made from polyurethane foam, which has a higher R-value than other materials like fiberglass or cellulose. This makes it better at reducing heat loss through the roof than other types of insulation. However, it’s more expensive than other options. It requires special handling when installing because it can be flammable if exposed to fire for too long. Rigid foam boards may also be difficult to cut into smaller pieces depending on their thickness. This option may not be appropriate for every home or situation but is an excellent choice for those looking for maximum energy efficiency from their attic insulation.
Fiberglass: Fiberglass insulation is made from glass fibers mixed with paper or plastic binders. These binders help hold the fibers together and make Fiberglass. Fiberglass insulation is made from:
- recycled glass
- synthetic fibers
It’s usually pink or white and is one of the most common types of insulation. It does a great job at stopping airflow, which means it keeps your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It also prevents moisture from getting into your walls, which means less mold growth. This type of insulation is also relatively cheap compared to other options. So if you’re on a budget, this might be the best option for you!
Polyurethane: Polyurethane is another common type of insulation that comes in two forms: spray foam and loose-fill. Spray foam is sprayed into small holes. It fills up small areas where air can get through easily. Areas around pipes or wires are great examples of where polyurethane can seal them off completely. Making sure that no cold air can get in through those cracks anymore! Loose-fill polyurethane comes in big bags and has to be blown into spaces like attics or crawl spaces with a machine.
Mineral Wool: Mineral wool is made by melting rock and other minerals with chemicals to create a fluffy material that provides excellent thermal resistance. It’s often used for fireproofing because it doesn’t burn easily and has a high melting point. Mineral wool is also helpful for soundproofing. It absorbs noise well and keeps people from hearing what’s going on outside their home. Mineral wool can be installed between wall studs or ceiling joists or blown directly into an unfinished attic.
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 will be damaged. *Likewise, 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. You aim to get rid of as much dust, dirt, and other particles as possible.
- You’ll want to 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 understand exactly what you have, you can consider the costs you will incur to insulate the attic space fully.
Prepare the Attic
Before the professionals place the first insulation portion, double-check that the attic is fully prepared. Insulation will provide you with a host of benefits, but you want to ensure that the material will not be placed over areas that will work against it. For example, you will want to seal air leaks around the windows with minimally expanding spray foam. Then, use fire-blocking caulk around pipes, wires, exhaust fans, and ducts.
If you discover water stains on any surface, there are water leaks. Those must be repaired, too. Likewise, 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 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 partly on how you use the space. At a minimum, most homeowners will want to insulate the floor at least. That way, they’re not losing cooled air through the roof.
If you’re finishing the attic to use as a living space, the walls and ceiling will also need insulation.
To a certain extent, there are several charts online you can use as a guide. You can also consult The Cooling Company; we work with heating, cooling, and insulation. We can help you know how much insulation you’ll need based on the location, landscaping, square footage of the space, and other property elements. 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. For example, 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
- 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. For example, 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.
Our professional technicians will make recommendations based on your attic’s current condition and what you are trying to achieve.
Attic Insulation Tips
The nice thing about hiring professionals to handle your attic’s insulation is they are well-versed in all the tricks and tips of the trade. When they purchase the insulation material, they know the type best suited for your home and circumstances.
Hiring professionals for an attic insulation job means 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. A job well done ensures your investment will maximize your returns.
Your attic is a valuable space that keeps your home comfortable but is also often overlooked. Here are some tips for making sure your attic is insulated properly!
- Check the insulation. If you haven’t had an inspection in a while, now’s a good time to get one. You can check your attic yourself by removing part of the ceiling and looking at the insulation. If there’s not enough, or if it’s dirty or damaged, then you’ll need to add more.
- Insulate with spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation is easy to use, quick to install, and great for small spaces like attics. It expands as it hardens, filling all the nooks and crannies around pipes and other obstructions. It works exceptionally well in areas with little room for traditional fiberglass batts. Spray foam is affordable, so don’t worry about breaking the bank while insulating your attic!
What to Expect
If you’re considering adding attic insulation to your home, it’s important to know what to expect from the installation process.
Once the installation is complete:
- you’ll see a significant difference in your energy bills
- you’ll also notice it’s easier to keep your house warm or cool depending on the season
- you may even notice that your HVAC system runs less often
- prevent mold from growing on walls by preventing moisture from getting into them through cracks caused by temperature changes within your home’s structure
The installation can take anywhere from two days to two weeks, depending on how much space you want to insulate. It all depends on the size of your attic and how much insulation you want to be installed.
Benefits of Attic Insulation
There are four main reasons why homeowners decide to insulate their attic.
Those reasons are:
- Value and savings
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 desired temperature, the more comfortable you will be inside. Insulation also creates a sound barrier, a nice feature that most individuals enjoy.
Lower energy bills mean you can spend that money somewhere else. Also, the increased energy efficiency means 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 blisteringly hot in Las Vegas during the summer. However, 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 heating and cooling systems installation, repair, and maintenance plans. 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.
That attic may seem like a scary place to begin, but with a bit of preparation and good basic knowledge of the insulating process, you should be able to keep yourself safe and sound up there.
The costs and savings of attic insulation are very simple: the more you spend, the more you save. While it won’t necessarily solve all of your home’s energy problems, it will enhance comfort and help save cash in the long run. Start by calling The Cooling Company to get estimates on your specific situation. The sooner you insulate, the sooner you can start saving money and improve your home’s energy efficiency.