Can you think of a reason you should NOT try to save money? I didn’t think so. As you know, autumn is officially here and winter is fast on its heels. That’s why we here at GAMA Air have been giving practical tips to help you make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. The result of putting these tips into practice will be a more comfortable home when that arctic blast hits us here in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area. Not only that, but you can also lower your energy bills! In other words: Save Money! In our last post, Part 5, we talked about the last few steps to seal air gaps in the attic. Where do you go from there?
Let’s talk about the insulation in your attic. Now that you’ve sealed air gaps in your attic it is just as important that you check your attic insulation levels and add more if necessary. The attic is the easiest place to add insulation to improve your comfort and the energy efficiency of your home.
No matter what kind of insulation you currently have in your attic, one quick way to determine if you need more is to take a quick glance across your attic. Can you easily see your ceiling joists because the top of your insulation is just level with or below them? If so, then the answer is easy: You definitely need to add more insulation. If you can’t see the joists then you should measure the thickness of your insulation. Use a tape measure and stick it down into the blown-in-insulation (or between the batt-insulation and a joist) until you hit the ceiling paneling or sheetrock. Make a note of the thickness. Don’t neglect checking to see if the insulation is evenly distributed. If you have blown-in-insulation then sometimes there are high spots in the middle of the attic but low spots with very little insulation along the eaves. Or if you have batt-insulation then make sure there are no gaps between pieces and that it reaches all the way to the eaves.
How much do you need? Insulation levels are specified by R-Value, which is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-Value, the better it performs keeping heat from passing through. The minimum level for attics in most regions of this country is to use R-38 insulation. Depending on the material used, this should be from 10 to 14 inches, and in this case more is better.
Do you need to add more? You don’t have to use the same type of insulation that currently exists in your attic. You could add loose fill insulation on top of fiberglass, and vice-versa. If you decide to put fiberglass batts over loose fill then make sure it is “unfaced”. You don’t want a layer of paper or foil in between the two types of insulation.
If you want to do this yourself then plan on laying out fiberglass roll or batt insulation, since it is the easiest for a DIY job. If there is already fiberglass insulation between the rafters, then install the second layer perpendicular to the rafters. This will help cover the tops of the joists and reduce heat loss through the framing. As a practical tip, lay the additional insulation starting at the farthest points and work toward your exit at the attic opening.
Here’s a couple of big no-no’s: Never lay insulation over recessed light fixtures. This could result in a fire. Keep all insulation at least 3 inches away from “can” lights, unless they are rated “IC” (Insulated Ceiling). If you are using loose fill insulation, use sheet metal to create barriers around the light fixtures. If using fiberglass batts, then a wire mesh can be used to create the 3-inch space barrier.
The other no-no? Never cover soffit or eave vents with insulation. Why not? More on that in the next installment!
Stay tuned for more details! But do you need help right away with your home’s heating or cooling system? Call GAMA Air at (323) 655-6126 or use our online form to schedule a visit at a time convenient to you for a service call. We have lots of satisfied customers in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area and we want you to be one of them. We will guarantee your 100% satisfaction with our work.
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