A somewhat overlooked energy and heat cost-cutter is “adding insulation to your attic.” Central Indiana is known for harsh winters, and this year is no exception. By spending a little time and money re-insulating your attic this fall you will not only save on heating costs, but you’ll ensure a comfortable and happy home for the rest of the year.
A few things to consider…
First and foremost, determine if you even need to re-insulate your attic. There are several key indicators:
- Heating bills are significantly higher in the winter months than normal
- Snow melts on-contact with your roof
- Your A/C ran more than normal this past summer
- Your rooms are drafty and uncomfortable
- There are noticeable temperature changes in different parts of your house
You may also be able to tell by actually going up into the attic and inspecting the current insulation, doing a DIY attic audit if you will. An obvious tell-tale is how much insulation is in place, the condition (wet, soggy, molded), etc. Once you know for a fact that installing new insulation is a must, then you can move to the next step.
One of the first things you need to know prior to doing any insulating is what R-value your batts should have. For a colder, temperate climate like Indiana, R-49 is an accurate estimate. Make sure you ask your local hardware store or insulation supplier which value is best suited though, because a higher insulation level will prevent hot air from escaping via the attic during the next few winter months. And if you’re feeling ambitious, for more information on how to calculate your own insulation needs, visit this blog post.
After determining your R-value, you’ll need to gather equipment – the fun part! We recommend using both an insulation vacuum and an insulation blower. You can use both of these in lieu of simply laying down rolls of insulation, or you can use them all in conjunction. It really depends on your preference. Keep in mind however, that using an insulation vacuum and blower will cut your time in half, as opposed to putting it all in by hand. Other tools necessary:
Bundle up and get to work
Once you have all the insulation you need – per your supplier’s instructions or DIY determination, and the insulation vacuum and blower, you can begin insulating. First things first, remove your old insulation with an insulation vacuum. This machine makes quick work of wet or dry insulation and drywall chip removal. All you do is plug it in and start sucking up everything. Some of the bigger pieces of insulation you can grab and throw out by hand, or you can use the vac for everything, especially for smaller pieces in nooks and crannies.
A word of advice though, use bags to tarp off the vacuum port. Otherwise, it could catch fire from all the debris churned up at such a high volume. A little maintenance goes a long way!
After getting out all the old insulation, it’s time to install the new insulation. You can either lay down rolls between the ceiling joists and blow insulation over the top, or you can use an insulation blower to install it all. The beauty of using a blower is that it is durable and powerful enough to insulate the main sections of your attic, in addition to the smaller, hard-to-reach spots. It can also blow both types of insulation – cellulose or fiberglass. Strive for uniform, complete coverage. The better you insulation the entirety of the attic, the warmer and more efficiently your household will modulate temperature. After you finish installing the insulation, you may also want to go back over loose bits with the vacuum, so keep it handy.
And voila, another item you can mark off your checklist! If you would like more information on how to add insulation to your attic in a safe and energy-efficient way, refer to this Energy Star guide. And as always, we are here to help! So please contact us with questions or use the comment section below.
About the Author
Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.