insulate the attic

Losing heat air from your home during a Minnesota winter is no small matter. An inefficient, poorly insulated home can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every heating season.

First Check: the Attic

A combination of kinetic energy, density, and gravity causes warm air to rise.  From your registers, the precious warm interior air rises right through the ceiling of your home, into your attic, and outside into the brisk northern air. When you insulate the attic of your home, heat loss is restricted if not eliminated. As a result, your furnace works more efficiently and less often. Satisfyingly, your energy bills fall.

What to Look For

The first step to a plan to insulate the attic is to survey the scene. Enter your attic through whatever access you have, but pause at the opening:

Is it weatherstripped?
Does it properly seal, to prevent airflow, when closed?

Shine a flashlight on your joists, the horizontal wood beams that form the “floor” of the attic. If you see them, you need more insulation.

Theoretically, it is possible to reach a point where you can insulate the attic too much, reducing your return on your investment. However, seeing joists definitely means you need at least another level or two of insulation.

DIY Attic Insulation?

Hiring a professional insulation service will likely turn out to be less expensive than a DIY project. Doing it yourself could include a trip to the emergency room, or replacing ceiling sheetrock where your foot punched through.

Many homeowners opt to merely insulate the attic themselves. DIY-ers typically choose unfaced (no paper backing), rolled insulation. This is then rolled out at right angles to the joists, starting near the outer edge of the attic.  To prevent walking on and compressing the insulation, it is necessary to work backwards towards the access.  Finish the job by inspecting the attic for holes, leaks, evidence of drips or missing caulk. Re-caulk and seal any holes except for the rafter vents at your roof’s edge.

The federal Energy Star program recommends that our Minneapolis-St. Paul area have at least R-49 attic insulation, but going up to R-60 will return even more energy savings.

Best Results: A Professional’s Opinion

If you want to avoid cramped working space, itchy insulation and the risks of doing the job yourself (improper vapor barriers and odd shapes in the attic) consider hiring local, professional insulation experts. They can help you navigate the types of insulation available so that you will be using a product worth investing in.  As a result, your home will become more energy efficient in a matter of hours.

For help on insulating the attic, contact Midwest Exteriors, serving the Minnetonka area for over 40 years.