Nothing keeps your home warmer than having the right insulation level in the attic. It’s your only defense against heat loss in the winter and while it can’t stop it, it does slow it. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends at least 16 inches of insulation in the attic and up to 20 for the best thermal protection.
Checking the Levels
The easiest way to check it is to go into the attic with a measuring tape or ruler to find its depth. You’ll also want to look at its condition. If you see vermiculate insulation, which is a loose, flaky mineral insulation, the job is best left to a professional who will first test it for asbestos before touching it.
Fiberglass batts and loose cellulose or fiberglass are the most common kinds used in this region. Fiberglass can be pink, white, or yellow, and cellulose is newspaper grey. Even though these types don’t pose the same health risks as vermiculite, it’s a good idea to wear a dust mask and protective head gear to avoid nails protruding from the roof deck.
Knee pads may make it easier to navigate the attic on the tops of the joists if it doesn’t have a solid floor. Measure the insulation level at random places throughout the attic, and note its condition. Compacted or moldy insulation won’t provide as much protection from heat transfer.
Look for air gaps around the chimney, flues, or vent stacks that enter the attic through the ceilings. Conversely, no insulation should cover the attic vents that bring in fresh air.
A licensed HVAC contractor can help you assess your attic and improve the quantity and quality of its insulation. They have expertise in air sealing and preventing thermal bridging, a phenomenon that undercuts the effectiveness of any kind of insulating material and contributes to harmful ice dam formation along the eaves.
Having the optimal insulation level will slow heat loss and drops wintertime heating bills. To learn more, contact Cool Power, LLC, providing trusted HVAC services for Long Island homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.
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