Why is Attic Insulation so Important?
Attic insulation is the most important thing you can do to make your home more comfortable and efficient. Too many homeowners turn to replacement windows, doors and HVAC systems to make a difference and unfortunately, none of these solutions really strikes at the root cause.
Take it from me, a former window contractor!
PRESSURE is the reason a home has comfort problems and insulation is the only way to contain the beast!
Physics in a home is the key to understanding how it works. Hot air masses build in different areas of your home during different times of the year and if left unchecked it will wreak havoc!
In the winter your heat moves upstairs and the typical ceiling is no match for all of that pressure so it easily escapes right up and out.
Attics during Baltimore summers get really hot. If your insulation is not right the unwanted hot air will make its way down through walls and ceilings leaving you wishing for cooler days.
Understanding the R-Value
R-value is the conventional method by which the performance of insulation is measured.
Insulation has one job - to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation resists the transfer of heat.
Attic insulation can have a huge impact on your overall comfort, energy bill and HVAC performance. A well-insulated attic can make an old heat pump or furnace seem like it is brand new if the project is managed and installed right!
Maryland attic insulation is very important because in summer it is responsible for stopping the hot attic air from coming inside (it gets 150 degrees in attic!!) and in the winter it keeps the warm conditioned air from going outside (through the ceiling mostly, due to pressure).
Maryland R-Value Insulation Chart
I have insulation already, so why doesn't it work?
Insulation must be at the correct depth in the right places. The attic floor must not show any major gaps or lapses in the overall insulation coverage. These are critical for the insulation to perform at optimum level.
Common Problems Due to Lack of Sufficient Attic Insulation
Problems with Comfort During the Heating & Cooling Seasons
Of all the instruments and tools available to determine precise temperature, humidity and air speed - the human body will outpace them all.
If you are consistently uncomfortable then your body is telling you something.
High Energy Bills Despite Taking Some Actions
If you spent a good sum of money to replace old windows or old HVAC and you find yourself still dealing with high energy bills - you are not the only one!
So don't feel bad or lose hope that you can actually have an energy efficient home. You just might have to look in a few other places to get to the real problems.
Soon, you will be the most efficient neighbor in the hood!
Poor Overall HVAC Performance
Often times new HVAC energy efficiency promises are not delivered as expected. The law of diminishing returns kicks in and the whole experience could become quite frustrating.
Think about a simple birthday balloon. If your task was to blow up the balloon for the party and you noticed that it had a hole in it would you continue to blow air into the leaky container? No!
Top Insulation Solutions to Get Up to Speed
Two-Part Spray Foam
Two-part spray foam is a great solution for insulating surfaces that are not easy to reach or are not flat because it air seals and insulates in one motion and because it is applied as a spray, it can get into hard to reach places.
Spray foam is not always the best solution. Decisions to use two-part spray foam should be based on the situation and location of use rather than considering its superiority to other solutions.
Blown Cellulose Insulation
Blown in insulation is a great solution for virtually any attic in some way, shape or form.
Loose fill cellulose has a good R-value per inch and it does a great job to insulate homes that have an attic space that is already somewhat insulated, but needs more.
Blown insulation is forgiving and does not need to be applied with perfection as other insulation treatment methods require. For example, rolled out insulation (batt insulation) must be installed to perfection or the R-value will be substantially degraded.
Proper Treatment Techniques
At first thought it may not seem so obvious that insulation projects require attention to detail and a mastery of several important skills.
Sealing and insulating a building shell requires technicians to work in tight spaces. Crews must be in good physical condition.
Knee wall features in a house are perfect examples of where finesse and conditioning come into play.
Proudly working in BGE & Pepco's Home Performance w/ ENERGY STAR program in Maryland to deliver whole-house energy savings to improve comfort & help protect the environment.
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An Energy Auditor's Purpose
"Energy auditors visit residential buildings and talk to owners and residents. They inspect, test, and measure to decide what energy-efficient retrofits are practical and cost-effective." Residential Energy