When to Replace Attic Insulation
Although the attic is probably one of the least-used rooms in your home, proper insulation of the attic is essential. If the lower levels of your house are not insulated well, warm air can rise up into the attic.
With insufficient insulation, warm air can leak out of the house and cool air can enter the house. In the winter, this can lead to uncomfortable drafts and higher heating bills.
To avoid these issues, it may be necessary to add, replace, or upgrade attic insulation. Here is a guide to common problems involving attic insulation and what you can do to fix them:
Too Little or No Attic Insulation
Many builders overlook the importance of insulation in the attic. In fact, before 1965, building codes did not require houses to have insulation at all.
Whether you have an older house or insulation wasn’t originally installed during construction, the uppermost level of your home may have little to no protection from air leaks.
Sealing attic air leaks is essential. When you open the attic walls, you may find that there is only a minimal amount of insulation – or no insulation at all. This problem can be rectified by installing new insulation.
Adding Insulation to the Attic
Before upgrading the insulation in your attic, it is crucial to understand the importance of removing old insulation. Some materials allow for the combination of old and new insulation (such as fiberglass insulation). However, in many cases the best choice is to remove the old insulation and install entirely new materials. This is especially true of spray foam insulation, which does not combine effectively or safely with older insulation materials.
If you are dealing with an uninsulated space, removal of old insulation is not an issue. You will still need to decide which material to use based on your needs and budget.
Attic insulation options include:
- Fiberglass insulation: Fiberglass insulation can be blown into the walls or installed in batts depending on the spacing of studs and wall joists.
- Cellulose insulation: Blown-in cellulose insulation is ideal for retrofitting a wall that has been previously insulated.
- Spray foam insulation: The very best insulation material on the market today, spray foam is extremely effective at sealing leaks in attic walls and other openings in the structure of the house.
You also need to determine whether to hire a professional or add the insulation yourself. Working with an insulation contractor may mean more cost upfront, but the results tend to be more dramatic and longer-lasting than if you try the DIY approach.
Attic Insulation Is Old or Degraded
Home insulation does not last forever. A variety of factors may indicate that it is time to replace the insulation.
If you notice signs of degradation, moisture, animal infestation, etc., it is crucial to remove the old insulation before installing upgraded materials.
Replacing Attic Insulation
Generally, removing home insulation should be left to the professionals. You do not want to be exposed to airborne particles from mold or animal droppings, nor do you want to deal with the mess that insulation removal can make.
Once the old insulation is removed, the vacant attic space is ready for upgraded home insulation. Professional insulation companies can usually perform removal and replacement jobs in a fraction of the time (sometimes a single day) and with far fewer headaches.
Too Much Insulation in Attic
Less common but still possible is the overuse of insulation in the attic. With insulation, more is not necessarily better. In fact, too much insulation can speed up the degradation process and creates a high risk of moisture buildup.
Removing Insulation from the Attic
As with old and contaminated insulation, removal of the excess materials is crucial for improving the ability of the attic to retain warm air and keep the elements out. Depending on the state of the insulation, total removal and replacement may be necessary.
How Much Insulation Do I Need in My Attic?
Whether you have too little insulation in the attic, none at all, or the insulation you have is no longer doing its job, the impact of these problems is often the same: uneven heating and cooling, drafts and cold spots, and utility bills that spike in the winter and summer months.
The attic may not be the only part of the house with inadequate or ineffective insulation. At REenergizeCO, we start every project by performing a comprehensive home energy audit. This detailed inspection allows us to identify problem areas and recommend solutions.
Ultimately, the insulation needs in your attic and other rooms will depend on the square footage of the space, the location of the air leaks, and your goals for comfort and energy savings. With our transparent pricing, you will know upfront how much improvements will cost. And, with our knowledgeable and professional team, you can count on us to provide recommendations customized to your home and budget.
Complete our online form to schedule your home energy audit and discuss your options for upgrading home insulation. REenergizeCO is proud to serve homeowners in Denver, Fort Collins, and throughout the Colorado Front Range.