How To Improve Summer Home Comfort
It’s hot outside. You are anxious to come inside and cool off. What happens if you remain hot even when you are inside? What happens when you crank up the AC and it’s still uncomfortably hot? Are there rooms in your house that you avoid during the summer?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it is very likely that you lack sufficient attic insulation. Often people think of insulation as important only during the colder winter season, but the need for proper home insulation applies to hotter summer months as well. Insufficient attic insulation allows the summer heat to permeate into homes. This is why it is very important to check attic insulation as the first step in troubleshooting a home that does not stay comfortably cool, or has extremely high electric bills, during the summer months.
The department of Energy recommends as much as an R60 value for insulation in attics, depending on the region of the U.S. where a home is located. Learn more here.
This translates to a recommended depth of approximately 16 inches of cellulose insulation. It’s easy to measure blown-in attic insulation by simply using a ruler or tape measure and sticking it into the insulation down to the ceiling. It’s as simple as the photo shown on this page.
If the attic has fiberglass batt or roll insulation, as a rule of thumb for checking levels, it should be well above the attic rafters. Again, a simple visual check will work where there is access available in the attic.
In older homes, and those where owners are experiencing warmer indoor temperatures, more than likely the insulation level will be lower than the recommended level. Once a visual confirmation is made, the next step recommended is to contact qualified insulation contractors for estimates on updating the home insulation. A qualified contractor can also include the necessary step of air sealing the attic as needed, since even the best insulation install will be less effective if there are air leaks between the home ceiling and attic.
Unless there are unique circumstances, it is best to use cellulose insulation for attic upgrades since it offers superior sealing properties compared to fiberglass batts or rolls, and it can be blown over either existing fiberglass or cellulose insulation. Homeowners may consider updating attic insulation as a Do It Yourself project opportunity. This is possible with both cellulose and fiberglass products. However, the immediate savings going the DIY route are usually lost over time since a contractor install will help achieve the highest energy efficiency.
Contact a Fiberlite expert for more information or recommendations for finding product and qualified insulation contractors.