Everyone thinks about insulation helping to keep your house warmer during the cold Colorado winters, but you also need to consider that it will help cut down on your cooling costs in the summer. In fact, according to the EnergyStar™ Program, it can reduce your bill by up to 20% by insulating and sealing your property.
We all know that heat rises, so preventing it from going up into your attic and out is why insulating in the winter makes so much sense. Similarly, during the summer months, the heat is trapped in the attic, which can force the air conditioner to kick on and run more often.
How Deep Does The Insulation Need to Be?
By installing the proper R-Value, or resistance to heat flow, the better the thermal performance of the insulation. The recommended level for most attics is to insulate from R-38 to R-49, which equates to about 13 to 18 inches. The following image from Energy Star provides some tips:
As you can see, northern climates require more depth than the southern states. In Colorado, you would definitely want to lean toward the deeper levels, as our extremes are…well…pretty extreme!
One problem that many homeowners have is that they use their attic for storage, which isn’t going to work if you want to aim for energy efficiency. You need to find a different place to store those Christmas decorations and let your attic do its job, which is to help “control temperatures in a house by providing a large mass of slowly moving air” according to Wikipedia.
Most homes don’t just need extra insulation for their attic. There are a number of other places that leak air, such as window and door frames, electrical outlets, and dryer vents, so sealing these areas is part of the equation.
This post offers more information on managing less efficient areas of your property:
Gaps in the attic or between the lower floors and the attic will let heated (or cooled) air escape to the great, unconditioned outdoors, making any insulation you add essentially useless. (Find a diagram of common air leaks here.) Here’s a quick primer on fixing draft-prone spots.
1. Around attic windows: Use canned, minimally-expanding spray foam (DAPtex Plus Window & Door Foam Sealant, $6.40 for 16 ounces; amazon.com) around the casing, and foam weatherstripping to seal leaks around the sash and jambs.
2. Around pipes, wires, exhaust fans, and ducts: Gaps of ¼ inch or less can be sealed with fire-blocking caulk (3M Fire Block Sealant, $6.57 for 10.1 ounces; homedepot.com); seal larger ones up to ½ inch with fire-blocking spray foam (Great Stuff Fireblock Insulating Foam Sealant, $15.99 for 16 ounces; amazon.com).
3. Around chimneys and flues: Use metal flashing sealed with high-temperature caulk (SUPERBOND Silicone Sealant, $7.90 for 13 ounces; grainger.com) or furnace cement (Oatey High Heat Furnace Cement, about $21 per half gallon; amazon.com. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/read-you-insulate-your-attic
Most Denver roofers have experience with insulating your home, so learn more today by contacting Front Range Commercial Roofing to learn more.