Today’s building standards have changed significantly in recent years, making homes more comfortable, more efficient and less costly to maintain. If you live in an older home, there’s a strong likelihood that too much of your hard-earned money is literally floating away.
An estimated nine out of 10 homeowners are wasting money on their energy bills because their homes are under-insulated, according to Energy Star. And one of the major sources of escaping energy is often one of the most overlooked: the attic.
Identifying the depth of the insulation in your attic is the first step to addressing your insulation needs. Homes located in colder regions should have about 16-18 inches of attic insulation, while homes in warmer regions generally need between 13-14 inches of insulation. Homes that have less insulation than these recommended amounts often consume much more energy in an effort to maintain a desired level of air quality.
Beyond just the depth of its insulation, your attic might have specific features that notoriously allow air to seep in and out. Some of these features, and the steps you or a professional contractor should take to address their insulation inadequacies, include:
- Electrical boxes – Temporarily clear away any of the attic insulation surrounding the electrical box and apply the insulation foam per the manufacturer’s instructions around the box’s perimeter. Let the foam cure and dry for at least 30 minutes before replacing the surrounding attic insulation.
- Plumbing pipes – Temporarily clear away the attic insulation from the base of the pipe. If you notice a sizeable gap between the floor and the pipe, insert a small piece of fiberglass insulation into the gap before applying the insulation foam around the base of the pipe. Let the foam cure and dry for at least 30 minutes before replacing the surrounding attic insulation.
- Recessed lights – An insulator cap should be used to enclose the light’s housing. You might need to make small cuts to the rim of the insulator cap so that it lays flat and allows room for the protruding metal supports. Apply sufficient insulator foam around the perimeter of the cap and let it cure and dry for at least 30 minutes before replacing the surrounding attic insulation.
Pinpointing and addressing these potentially problematic areas, as well as the overall insulation depth in your attic can make a noticeable impact on your home’s energy efficiency and environmental impact. Investing in these solutions will not only begin to make your home feel more comfortable, but you can also begin to see a return on that investment within your utility bills.
Please note, always use good common sense and take all safety precautions that may apply, including the use of protective eyewear, gloves and appropriate clothing. As with many home maintenance projects, it’s usually best to consult with a professional contractor first. For information on how to find one who can address your unique needs, contact the Sheboygan County Home Builders Association at 920.892.6280 or firstname.lastname@example.org. View a list of professionals at www.schba.org.