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Home Project FYI. Your Home Project Information and Idea Place

Help and Ideas For Your Home Remodeling Project

Home Project FYI. Your Home Project Information and Idea Place - Help and Ideas For Your Home Remodeling Project

Attic Insulation, Can I Add More?

Insulation In Your Attic Can Help Control Heat Loss

4 Easy Steps For Adding Fiberglass Insulation and Cellulose Insulation

Adding attic insulation According to the EnergyStar™ Program, heating and cooling costs can be slashed by up to 20% per year by properly sealing and insulating the home. Adding attic insulation should be a top priority for preventing heat loss and increasing energy conservation because as heat rises, a critical amount of heat loss from the living areas of the home occurs through an unfinished attic.  During the summer months, heat trapped in the attic can reduce energy conservation and a home’s ability to keep cool, forcing occupants to further tax the home’s cooling system.


The aim should be to insulate the living space of the house while allowing the roof to remain the same temperature as the outside. This prevents cold outside air from traveling through the attic and into the living area of the home. In order to accomplish this, adequate roof vents must be in place to vent the roof by allowing air flow to enter through soffit-intake vents and out through ridge vents, gable vents or louver vents.

Attic insulation and ridge vent

If there is currently a floor in the attic, it will be necessary to pull up pieces of the floor to install the insulation. In this case, it will be easier to use a blower and loose-fill insulation to effectively fill the spaces between the joists. If you choose to go with blown-in insulation, you can usually get free use of a blower when you purchase a certain amount of insulation.

When installing fiberglass insulation, make sure that you wear personal protective equipment, including a hat, gloves, and a face mask, as stray fiberglass material can be inhaled and cause irritation to the lungs, eyes and exposed skin.

Before you begin actually installing the insulation, there is some important preparation involved in order to ensure that the insulation is applied properly to prevent hazards and to achieve maximum effectiveness and energy conservation.

Step 1: Install Roof Baffles

When adding attic insulation, in order to maintain the free flow of outside air, it is recommended that polystyrene or plastic roof baffles are installed where the joists meet the rafters. These can be stapled into place.


Step 2: Place Baffles Around Electrical Fixtures

Next, place baffles around any electrical fixtures (lights, receptacles, etc.), since these may become hot while in use. Hold the baffles in place by cross-sectioning the rafters with 2x4s placed at a 3-inch clearance around the fixture.  Cut the polystyrene board to fit around the fixture and inside the wood square you have just created.

Step 3: Install a Vapor Barrier

If you are installing insulation with a vapor barrier, make sure the vapor barrier faces the interior of the house. Another option for a vapor barrier is to take sheets of plastic and lay them between the ceiling joists.  Then, using a staple gun, tack them to the sides of the joists. A vapor barrier should be considered as part of a moisture control strategy for your home.

Step 4:  Apply the Insulation

Begin by cutting long strips of fiberglass to measure, and lay them in between the joists. Do not bunch or compress the material; this will reduce the insulative effect.

If you are not planning to put in an attic floor, for increased energy conservation, a second layer of attic insulation may be laid at 90º to the first layer. Do not lay in a second moisture barrier, as moisture could potentially be trapped between the two layers. This second layer of attic insulation will make it easier to obtain the recommended R-value. In colder climates, an R-value of 49 is recommended for adequate attic insulation. In warmer climates, an R-value of 30 is recommended. Fiberglass insulation has an R-value of roughly 3 per inch of thickness; cellulose  has an R-value of roughly 4 per inch, but it doesn’t retain its R-value rating as well as fiberglass insulation.

If an attic floor is in place, it will be easier to use a blower to insert cellulose insulation into the spaces rather than fiberglass insulation. The best way to achieve this is to carefully select pieces of the floor and remove them in such a manner that you will have access to all of the spaces in between the joists. Run the blower hose up into the attic. A helper may be needed to control the blower. Blow the cellulose insulation into the spaces between the joists, taking care not to blow the cellulose insulation near electrical fixtures. Replace any flooring pieces that were removed.

Loose-fill insulation, either fiberglass insulation or cellulose insulation, is also a good option in cases where there is no attic floor. In such circumstances, you won’t need a blower as you would with cellulose insulation, and can simply place the insulation between the joists by hand. You may also wish to even out the spread with a notched leveler.

To have good energy conservation, ensuring that there is a free flow of outside air from the soffits to the roof vents is key to a well-functioning insulation system. The lack of adequate ventilation in insulated attics is a common defect. When inspecting the attic, look behind the baffles to see if there is any misplaced insulation obstructing the natural air flow, and check the roof vents to make sure that outside air is exhausting properly. Check for a moisture barrier under the insulation.  Also, look for spots where the insulation is compacted; it may need to be fluffed out.  In the case of loose-fill insulation, check for any thinly spread areas that may need topping up. Finally, look for dirty spots in the insulation where incoming air is admitting dust into the material.


This Energy Efficient Home Improvement Will Save You a Bundle

Energy efficiency is often overlooked when deciding on a home improvement choice. The choices are not just cosmetic or structural. Consider making home improvements to address your energy use and utility bill. You may be in for a big surprise! The biggest energy change is not what most people think.

This Energy Efficient Home Improvement Will Save You a Bundle

Energy efficient solar water heaters on a roof

There are a couple reasons for improving the energy efficiency in your home. You may realize we are impacting our environment and want to do your part to stop this. On the other hand, you may be tired of paying ever increasing utility bills. Regardless, you are ready to do something, but need to take a quick break before jumping in.


Most people automatically think the biggest cost associated with energy use in their home is heating it in winter and cooling it in summer. This would certainly seem to make sense from a logical perspective. In the case of energy, however, logical fails the test.


The biggest use of energy in your home is heating your water. This may be surprising at first, but think it through. How many times a day is the shower or bath cranked on? How many times a week is the dishwasher cranked on? Do you have a pool? How about a Jacuzzi? Each of these energy requirements adds up very quickly, particularly hot water for showers and dishwashers. The good news is you can make relatively painless home improvements to address these issues.


There is no denying we all need to take showers each day…at least I hope! To improve your shower energy use, there are a couple of basic steps you can take. First, get a low flow shower head. They cost a few bucks, but restrict the volume of water coming out. The less hot water used, the less your water heater has to crank up. Don’t worry, you will not notice a difference. Second, consider going with a solar water heater or a tankless system. Solar works best because there are no energy requirements from your utility, but a tankless water heater has advantages as well because it does not waste energy by firing up over and over during the day when you are not home. Regardless, just make the change.


As to dishwashers, there are two solutions. Again, solar water heaters overcome the problem by heating the water without tapping your utility lines. If you aren’t ready for that, get an energy efficient dishwasher. You are looking for a product that has an Energy Star rating. The rating signifies the dishwasher is designed to minimize energy use with a savings of at least 25 percent compared to traditional machines.


Going green is not nearly as painful as most people think. Making small changes, such as how you heat your water, can make a major difference to both the environment and your utility bill.

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