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Attic Insulation


Energy to heat and cool your home is usually the largest portion of your utility bill.
You can upgrade your home with energy efficient insulation; one of the quickest energy-payback is to insulate the loft, attic or flat roof, because adding insulation there is quick, easy, and a cost-effective way to reduce heat loss and reduce your heating bills.
Add attic insulation saves you money by lowering heating and cooling costs. The long-term payoff is impressive too. You could see your energy bills go down by as much as 15 to 25 percent depending on your climate and existing levels of insulation. Heat rises, and in an un-insulated home, up to a quarter of heat is lost through the roof.
Heat flows from warmer to cooler until there is no longer a temperature difference. In your home, this means that in winter, heat flows directly from all heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, basements, and even to the outdoors. During the summer, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior of a house.
Control extra costs by sealing your attic.
Failing to seal air leaks before insulating allows warm air to leak into the attic. Air leaks can cause ice dams too.
The worst offenders are cracks and gaps around lights, plumbing pipes, chimneys, walls and other ceiling penetrations.
Make sure insulation does not block soffit vents. Proper attic ventilation requires a balance of intake and exhaust openings. Attic ventilation allows moisture to escape. Moisture build-up can damage your home and ruin insulation.
Insulation stops heat escaping from living spaces, so it will make your loft space cooler, which could introduce or worsen existing damp or condensation problems. If you are installing loft insulation yourself please keep in mind that you may need to increase ventilation.
Check the attic ceiling for water leaks, water stains or marks; they indicate roof leaks or lack of ventilation. Make repairs before you insulate. Wet insulation is ineffective and can damage your home.
If your loft is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems it should be easy to insulate.
In unfinished space, you can simply add layers to what is already on the floor. Insulating the roof is the better method if heating and cooling ducts pass through the space or if you live in a humid climate and wants to cut down on musty smells coming from the attic. The common types of insulation used are:
Fibreglass or mineral wool batts, Roll-on or blanket-type insulation are fire and moisture resistant. They are available with or without a vapour barrier facing. The facing is made of foil or Kraft paper. Some batts are wrapped in plastic for easy handling. This plastic has small holes, so it is not a vapour barrier.
Loose fill cellulose, fibreglass, mineral wool, vermiculite or blown-in insulation is either blown with a machine that shoots a stream of loose-fill cellulose over the existing attic floor framing or poured from the bag directly into the attic.
Blowing in insulation is faster and offers better coverage of filling in small crevices and other hard-to-reach areas. Loose fill is better than rolls or batts for attics with irregular joist spacing or with many obstructions.
Insulate between the joists with mineral wool or Sprayed foam polyurethane is a good choice if you plan to turn your attic into a finished room and then you will want to lay rigid insulation boards on top, with wooden boarding on top of that. You can buy insulation board pre-bonded to floor boarding to make the job easier.
If you want to use your loft as a living space, or it is already being used as a living space, you can insulate your room-in-the-roof by insulating the roof itself. This is typically done by fixing rigid insulation boards between the roof rafters.