If you are building a new home or renovating an existing one, you might wonder how much insulation you should be putting in your attic. I mean, too little insulation has to be bad, but what’s the worst could happen if you put too much insulation in your attic?
Insulating your attic space is one of the most cost-effective ways of decreasing your carbon footprint and minimizing your energy costs. No doubt insulation is a good thing, but what would happen if you used too much of it? We have the answer to that and all you need to know about attic insulation. Read on!
Too much insulation in your attic: Good or bad thing?
Any attic insulation professional will tell you that there’s more to attic insulation than meets the eye. Even so, there’s a reason the old adage of “too much of a good thing” exists.
When it comes to safety, too much in your insulation can lead to some issues. Although the insulation is supposed to keep your home warm and prevent heat loss, which is a good thing, there can also be some unintended side effects.
For example, your home could become too warm, making it stuffy and less comfortable. Of course, you can resolve this by opening the windows!
However, it gets more complicated if too much insulation is applied and blocks the vents.That’s when it becomes more of a safety issue.When heat and moisture get trapped and settle into cracks and crevices, it can result in mold and mildew. Thus, it is highly advisable to apply the right amount of insulation, depending on your material of choice, to enjoy the insulation benefits with none of the risks.
How much insulation are we talking about?
Let’s face it, you can’t just go completely rogue with your insulation! Your local government has its code on insulation. However,, in most cases, the recommended amount is the bare minimum, which can be inefficient. If you follow the code, you’ll achieve this bare minimum at the expense of limited benefits. Due to these codes, most homes suffer from under-insulation.
However, how much insulation is needed depends on your region and the typical climate. Insulation performance is estimated in R-values – the ability of the insulation material to resist heat flow. Higher R-value translates to better thermal performance.
In attics, an R-value of R-38 (10 to 16 inches of material, depending on the material used) is recommended. There should also be proper air sealing and ventilation to enhance your insulation performance. Your home comfort will improve, and there will be annual energy savings to enjoy, as well.
What’s the remedy for too much insulation in your attic?
If you suspect your attic has been over-insulated, it should only worry you if your vents are blocked. Most people don’t bother removing old insulation before adding new insulation, so if you live in an older home, it’s possible you have several different layers of insulation going on up there.
However, entry of fresh air into your attic is of crucial importance. It helps prevent humidity buildup. Functional attic vents that allow free air circulation are vital to your health and safety. So if you think you have too much insulation in your attic, start by checking on your vents.
One reason you might want an excess of insulation is to save more on your energy bills. While it’s true that a well-insulated home loses less heat and results in lower winter energy bills, it reaches a point where the extra material makes no tangible difference.
You don’t want to waste money thinking you are saving some on the other end. The only practical reason to spend extra on insulation is that your attic’s insulation is outdated, and you need to add modern insulation to bring those digits on your energy bill down!
How attics are supposed to work
There are two types of attics – vented and unvented. Understanding the type of attics you have in your home can help you understand how and where to insulate. Here’s what you need to know.
In a vented attic, insulation is laid along the ceiling plane. The attic space left above the insulation is known as the conditioned space. The vents are located just under the roof and allow the air in your attic to circulate.
In summer, attic ventilation helps to vent out the hot air in the attic and the excess moisture in your home. This helps to protect your roof shingles and it also keeps your home cool.
A sealed or unvented attic features insulation installed at the roof instead of the ceiling plane. Though they are less common than vented attics, they are considered more energy efficient.. The reason is that the air-conditioned ducting goes into your home’s conditioned space, thus preventing energy loss.
Sealed attics also have one disadvantage. They lack heat buildup protection for your roof, unlike vented attics, but there’s a solution. Homes with sealed attics use a double roof feature that offers a ventilated air space above the insulated roof.
Spray foam: the best insulation for your attic
The most effective insulation material, especially for your attic, would be spray foam. The advantage of using this material is that it will serve your needs for over 30 years, and it also makes things convenient when it comes to repairs and maintenance. Besides, you won’t need any additional insulation and instead you can divert that money to something more meaningful.
At Ideal Insulation, we know what’s best for you regarding attic insulation. We adhere to the strictest building and safety codes, and our contractors are skilled and armed with modern tools to provide you with the best service to meet your expectations. Call or email us for a quote!