Here are two facts of home energy efficiency in winter: heat wants out of your house, and attic insulation keeps it in. Hot air rises and collects at the ceiling. Without adequate attic insulation on the other side, heat conducts through the ceiling and into your attic. This energy loss causes your furnace to run longer to make up the difference, inflating utility costs.
Here’s another fact: If you have less than 12 inches of insulation up there now, according to the Department of Energy, you’re under-insulated compared to the recommendations for the Cleveland area. Luckily, the attic is the easiest place in the home to upgrade insulation to meet the new energy realities of today. It’s generally easily accessible and new insulation can be installed on top of existing layers.
What kind of insulation?
Attic insulation is commonly available in two varieties (there are other varieties, too):
- Fiberglass batts are rolled blankets precut to fit neatly between the ceiling joists up in the attic. Made of millions of tiny strands of fiberglass that looks like cotton candy, it’s the quickest and easiest boost for your insulation and can be accomplished by most do-it-yourselfers.
- Cellulose is a loose-fill product composed of ground-up paper and fabric treated with fire-retardant. It must be blown into the attic using a large hose and compressed air. However, cellulose provides greater coverage than fiberglass as it can be blown into every odd-shaped corner and crevice in the attic.
How much do I need?
Insulation’s resistance to heat transfer is expressed by its R-rating. Recommendations for residential installations refer to the R-rating per inch of insulation. Fiberglass batts have an R-rating of 3.1 per inch while cellulose is 3.8. In the Cleveland climate zone, the Department of Energy recommends attic insulation to a depth of R-38 to R-60. For fiberglass batts, this means you should upgrade to a minimum of 13 inches of fiberglass or 10 inches of cellulose. The maximum depth of insulation can range up to 20 inches and 16 inches of fiberglass or cellulose, respectively.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling has helped keep Cleveland warm every winter since 1936. Ask us about upgrading your attic insulation today.
Paul 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.