Cleveland HVAC Blog

Attic Insulation: Options and Tips that Give You a Whole-House Advantage

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 @ 01:26 PM

Usually the first step is to eliminate any direct leaks to the outside by sealing and weatherstripping your home. Once this task is complete, the next step is make sure your home has adequate insulation.

Insulation saves homeowners in Northeast Ohio a significant amount of money each month, increasing energy-efficiency and making the home environment more comfortable. Of course, not just any type of insulation will do the job.

attic insulation levelsRatings called R-values allow you to compare the relative thermal resistance provided by a certain insulation type. Thermal resistance is the material's ability to prevent heat form leaking outside in the winter and going to waste. The reverse is the case in the summer where the insulation prevents summer's heat from penetrating into the house and overworking your AC unit.

Concentrate your effort on attic insulation for the most cost-effective route to energy savings and comfort, as EnergyStar advises. You'll find recommended R-values for each climate region in the US on their color-coded chart.

Here's a roundup of common insulation types and tips for their best use:

  • Use rolls and batts between wall and floor beams – they're sized to fit. These are flexible types of insulation made of materials such as fiberglass. High-density options are available.
  • Use board insulation (often rigid foam or fiberglass) for open walls, attic ceilings or underneath siding. It usually carries a higher R-value per inch of thickness, for use where space is tight.
  • Loose-fill insulation can be blown into hard-to-reach areas through a small hole drilled in a wall, ceiling or floor.
  • For small areas around windows, to prevent drafts and air leaks, use foam-in-place material.

Attic installation tips:

  • For attics in our region, use R49 to R60 insulation if you're starting from scratch with no existing material in place. If you're adding on to 3 to 4 inches of existing material, R38 to R49 should be used.
  • For the floors, use R25 to R30.
  • If you're planning to remove or replace your house siding, it's a great time to add insulation. Use R5 to R6 insulative sheathing beneath the siding for best results. If there is existing sheathing material in place, drill holes and blow in loose-fill material to fill wall cavities.

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Photo Credit

Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: attic insulation, insulation levels, insulation, energy savings

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