Proper attic insulation is essential to keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. In winter, insulation keeps heat trapped inside your home, while in summer properly installed insulation allows air to circulate, ventilating your home and preventing overheating. CertainTeed attic insulation can bring multiple benefits to homeowners, including cost savings, maintenance benefits and increased comfort. A properly performing roof takes more than just shingles. Your roof works as a system, proper attic insulation and a properly ventilated roof work together to keep your home cooler and more energy efficient. A properly insulated attic can help decrease your electric bill by as much as 20%.
Attic Insulation: Perfect Time to Re-Insulate
Having your attic inspected by a Top of The House professional anytime is a great idea, but during a re-roofing project is an ideal time to add insulation to a home. During a re-roofing project a sheet of decking can be removed from the home’s deck and the hose of the CertainTeed attic insulation machine can be inserted into the home’s attic and assure no mess inside the home from man or machine.
Attic Insulation: How Does Insulation Work?
Have you ever thought about how insulation works and why? Heat always moves towards cold, which is why heat tries to escape a home in winter and enter a home in summer. Fiber glass insulation works by trapping air within tiny pockets to resist the transfer of heat, so it does not move into or out of the home. Controlling moisture and air infiltration, assuring proper ventilation and maximizing the efficiency of the home’s heating and cooling system are just a couple more important benefits.
Attic Insulation: What is R Value?
Insulations ability to resist the transfer of heat is measured by “R-Value.” The higher an insulations R-value, the better its ability to resist the flow of heat. The R-values are not directly related to the thickness of the insulation, but are related to the number of fibers per square inch, or the density of the insulation. The thicker or denser the insulation, the more air pockets it has and the higher the R-value will be. How much attic insulation is needed in the Louisiana region? The DOE recommends the Louisiana region be insulated to R-49-R60. To get a R-60 rating the home’s attic will require 19-20 inches of blown-in insulation.
Attic Insulation: Common Insulation Questions
How can you tell if a home needs more attic insulation? Quick answer, go into the attic and if you can see the rafters, odds are the home needs more attic insulation. This does not hold true in every case and an expert will be able to recommend the proper amount of insulation. Homes in different geographic location throughout the United States are recommended to have different amounts of attic insulation. The southern region is recommended to have R-60 by the DOE. Attic insulation is a year-round product, in summer months it slows the flow of heat from warm to cold areas, no matter what the outside temperature. A well-insulated home will be more comfortable and help reduce the need for continuous air conditioning and in turn reduce heating and cooling costs.
Attic Ventilation: More is Better
To properly ventilate an attic, you need two kinds of roofing vents. Intake vents at the eve of the house which bring outside air into the attic as well as exhaust vents normally at the ridge which expel the hot air from the attic. The rule of thumb for attic ventilation is 50/50 intake to exhaust but if you can get 60/40 this would be optimal. The 60% being intake at the eves of the house. If you do not have both you do not have attic ventilation at all. A big question so many people have is, I heard more is better so let’s add more roof ventilation. In this case, more is not better and you can really make some mistakes with your attic ventilation. The DOE, Department of Energy recommends a 1/300 rule. The 1/300 rule is very simple, you need 1 square foot of net free ventilation area for every 300 square feet of attic flooring space. Many building code have regulations for 1/150. A 1/150 is perfectly fine if you can work that in. So many modern roofs have very little ridge to add ridge vent to making it a little more difficult to properly vent a modern attic. Today’s modern homes have many 10/12-16/12 pitches with many facets, this does add even more difficulty in getting proper roof ventilation.
Attic Ventilation: Common Mistakes
Adding more than one type of roof vent for exhaust is a very common mistake. Many people to get more ventilation will add turbines (whirly birds) along with ridge vent. What they don’t know is this causes a roof ventilation short circuit. For instance, if someone has a full soffit and ridge vent system and then decides to add vents half way up the slope. Rather than improving his ventilation, he has now damaged the roofing systems ability to exhaust the hot air. You will cause your hot air to exhaust half way up the slope and in doing so leave part of your attic improperly vented. One more problem from this attempt is depending on wind pressure, air will be taken in at the vents half way up the slope and this will reduce the air intake at the eves of the house.
Why Is Proper Attic Insulation Important?
A home needs more than shingles on the roof to protect it from the elements. Attic insulation and ventilation must work together with the roof structure to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
High-quality attic insulation systems, such as the Owens Corning Top of the House system, bring the following benefits to homeowners and residents:
- Improved energy efficiency. Installing proper attic insulation can reduce the amount of energy used to heat a home, which could lead to lower energy bills.
- Lower carbon footprint. The top source of greenhouse gas emissions is the energy used in homes and buildings. By installing insulation in the attic, you can prevent energy loss through the surface of a home that leaks the most heat: the roof. It is an easy and cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions and therefore helping the planet.
- Greater roof longevity. Proper attic insulation can prevent moisture and ice dams from building up on the roof, which protects shingles and helps them last longer.
Why Is Attic Ventilation Important?
Keeping heat inside the home is one important function of insulation, but it is also important to install a system that promotes ventilation. Without adequate ventilation, moisture can build up in a roof space, leading to the following problems.
- Sagging roof deck. Deck sagging can occur after only a couple of years of inadequate ventilation and make the deck dangerous to walk on. This looks like sumps in the decking called deck deflection. The added humidity makes the decking literally sag between the rafters.
- Dry rot. This can develop in plywood decking due to condensation, which is caused by moisture not being able to escape from the attic.
- Water condenses on metal objects inside the attic, such as nail heads. Rust then develops on the nail heads, causing them to come off. Rusting of metal straps holding plumbing or HVAC ducting can cause them to break, leading to the ducting or pipes crashing down through the ceiling or onto the ceiling joists. This is more common in humid climates.
- Insect infestation.
- Mold, mildew, fungi and spores. These can cause health problems and do damage to the structure of the house.
- Reduced R-value of insulation. This means the insulation can’t maintain the internal temperature of the home as effectively as it should. A home without proper attic insulation will have more moisture in the attic that will become trapped in the insulation and make it even less effective than it should be.
- Ice dams. Snow that repeatedly melts and refreezes at the perimeter of the roof can back up under the shingles and cause leaks. A Cold Roof Assembly, which combines proper ventilation with heavy insulation, can eliminate ice dams.
Attic ventilation is so important because there are many appliances in the typical home that produce moisture that can build up in the attic space. These include washing machines, dishwashers, bathtubs, showers and tumble dryers, all of which produce water vapor. Ideally, these items should be properly ventilated through the roof, as otherwise they can cause condensation to build up inside the attic. In some cases, this condensation can get so bad that it is easy to mistake it for a roof leak.
What Is Proper Attic Insulation?
At CertainTeed, we aim to provide insulation that addresses all the problems listed in this post. Our Top of the House system can keep heat inside your home without causing moisture to build up inside the attic.
Proper attic insulation should be sustainable and protect the health of homeowners and their families. Our PINK FIBERGLASTM insulation products are GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Children & Schools certified, which means they can offer better indoor air quality than some other insulation products.
CertainTeed blown-in FIBERGLAS insulation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by heat escaping from a home by over half a ton every year. Sealing air leaks could help to reduce heat loss even further, cutting heating and cooling bills. At CertainTeed, we believe FIBERGLAS is the green choice for residential properties due to its energy-saving and clean air properties.
In combination with our insulation products, we recommend installing attic vents to ensure that the attic space has adequate ventilation. There are many types of attic vents available, including static vents, power vents, ridge vents, turbine vents, soffit/cornice vents, gable vents, starter vents, and cupola vents. All these options come in a wide variety of sizes, styles and shapes. The right choice of vent depends on the configuration of the roof, the size of the attic and the local climate.
Learn More About Proper Attic Insulation
CertainTeed has many years of experience of insulating and ventilating attics to protect both the structure of the home and its residents from harm. CertainTeed products can help to reduce the amount of energy that it takes to heat and cool a home, therefore reducing the carbon footprint of the property. To find out more about CertainTeed products, please feel free to get in touch today. A few accessories to help make the attic insulation project even better start with an attic stairway insulator. The attic stairway insulator by CertainTeed is made of durable insulation with PureFiber technology and tough highly reflective foil for attic stairway openings. A lightweight easy to install product that adds R-10 to the homes when properly installed. The attic stairway insulator is available in one size and fits most standard stairway openings. Other great CertainTeed product for attic insulation projects are the CertainTeed baffles for aiding the soffit vent air flow and recessed can lighting covers. To cover a can lighting outlet that is none IC rated to must keep the insulation 3 inches away from the light fixture. The CertainTeed recessed light cover is the perfect product for this task. When adding the CertainTeed expandable attic insulation near the eves of the home it is possible to cover the soffit vents if not careful. The CertainTeed baffles will keep the air flowing upward like it should.