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Is Your Attic Insulation Working Properly?

December 05, 2017

In determining if your attic is effectively insulated, professionals point out some common problem areas. Any of them will signal a need for action. But to know for certain if your attic is insulated properly, having a professional assessment is an excellent first step.

When the attic is not properly insulated, the symptoms are usually noticeable and homeowners begin to wonder. Room temperatures fluctuate; some rooms feel drafty; energy bills are on the high side; and ice damming may develop when temperatures plunge.

Icicles and Ice Damming

Something is wrong if winter icicles are overgrowing. Those icicles point to a bigger issue - ice damming. When your roof is covered with snow and the heat from inside the attic melts the snow, this can lead to ice damming. The melting water flows down the roof slowly and actually refreezes. The result of this melting and refreezing process is a substantial buildup of ice that runs along the edge of the roof.

When left untouched, ice damming can cause damage – the ice can rip off shingles, crunch up the gutters, and even damage the roof structure. The solution is to prevent heat transfer inside the home. This is done in two ways:  enhancing inadequate attic insulation, and sealing air leakage pathways in the attic floor. In short, these “fixes” will prevent the attic from warming.

Fluctuating Temperatures

When a room has fluctuating temperatures (particularly in the winter months), it’s likely that insulation is underperforming somewhere in the house. Fluctuating temperatures are obvious to homeowners, as are colder-than-usual exterior walls, and ceilings that are cold. When your attic is properly insulated, these types of things will not generally happen.

In any home, new or old, there is quantifiable heat loss through exterior walls, upstairs ceilings, and poorly sealed windows. In fact, studies show that most winter heating and summer cooling is lost through the roof and attic. It’s simply due to air leakage and underperforming insulation. But   when the attic is properly insulated, the space is well sealed and thermally protected.

Inconsistent Energy Bills

Higher-than-usual energy bills (heating and cooling) are easy to notice, and signal an insulation problem. When the attic is properly insulated, energy bills are far more consistent.

If your HVAC system is overworking there’s a good chance that you have a higher than usual energy bill- mainly due to energy loss. Air leakage and poorly performing insulation are usually the main cause of energy loss.

For improving home energy efficiency, insulation professionals believe that the best return-on-investment is a combination of air sealing and insulation. Online technology like MyEnergyXpert can assist homeowners in making repairs and retrofits that will boost energy performance and energy efficiency. The annual energy savings on heating and cooling will be dramatic.

Energy Efficiency = Savings

Improving attic insulation makes a home more energy efficient, while enhancing indoor comfort during winter and summer. And with air leakage minimized, associated problems are mitigated, while energy costs are held in check. More important, the cost of sealing and insulation is quickly offset by the measurable savings year after year.

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