What We Find in Most Homes – And Why You Should Care
Improper or worn-out attic insulation can lead to uncomfortable room temperatures, high utility bills & premature shingle wear. Heat passes all too easily through a poorly insulated attic. This causes different issues with in-home climate control and with general increases to hydro costs year-round. The impact on your home appears in the winter and in the summer in two opposite ways.
In our experience, the average attic insulation we find is between 8 to 12 inches thick, which is very low and leads to cold in the winter and a hothouse in the summer (plus higher utility bills!). Your home needs to have 22.5 inches of insulation (R-60 Code).
Why You Need 22.5 inches of Insulation
Besides the obvious reason of maintaining your home's warmth in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer, it also protects the life of your roof.
Most new houses conform to the current insulation code of R-60 as a standard or 22.5 inches of blown-in insulation. However, if your home was built in the early 2000s or before, you are very likely to have insufficient insulation. That is either because insulation blown into your home has settled over time or it has been affected by the weather. Either way, this would mean it has lost some of its protective benefits
Current technology and innovations like blown-in fibreglass insulation from Owens Corning won't settle over time, retaining its thickness and ensuring your home keeps proper insulation for much longer than traditional cellulose insulation.
The Heat in Winter
In the winter, heated interior air rises naturally and can penetrate into the attic through numerous air leaks or simple convection. Poor attic insulation makes the rooms directly beneath the attic cooler through conductive heat loss. This causes an increase in heating needs to maintain adequate room temperature. An un-insulated attic allows a large amount of heat from your home to be lost into the attic, unnecessarily increasing your hydro bills.
Not only that, but during the winter if the heat transfers into the attic, the moisture in the air can crystalize on joists, rafters and roof deck inside of the attic. This moisture can freeze into ice in the winter, and in the spring (or as soon as the temperature rises) it can thaw and become moisture in your roof deck, which in turn may lead to rotting and potentially mould.
The Effects During Summer
Poor attic insulation issues are reversed in the summertime. As the attic can accumulate heat through something called “solar gain”, rising up to 70 degrees Celsius or more, the heat then moves down into the living areas of the home through thermal transfer. The excessive heat simply needs to go somewhere, so it will follow the path of least resistance. In this case, through the insufficient insulation. This creates very hot rooms that become more expensive to cool down. Generally, bedrooms are the rooms that become overheated because of their proximity to the roof (directly below attics in most cases), meaning that more cooling is needed to keep those rooms comfortable during the day – and the night.
Home Too Cold or Too Warm?
If you're worried about insufficient attic insulation in your home or suffering from not enough warmth in winter or too much heat in the summer, Empire Exteriors can help! Our experts will evaluate your attic and recommend the best solutions to improve your energy efficiency. We also carry a variety of insulation options for different needs and budgets.