In recent years, the population growth in Virginia has been quite rapid, particularly in metropolitan areas; so rapid in fact that the state is growing faster than the nation. Despite the recent construction of many newer homes, the average age of home in Virginia is still quite old, particularly in Virginia’s northern counties. While many of these homes have been upgraded or remodeled, many of them have not, and one of the most significant upgrades homeowners will want to make to older homes is to increase the quality and/or quantity of the attic insulation. Many older homes were built almost entirely without insulation, making the energy cost in these homes quite high. Here are a few key facts you should know about attic insulation.
- R-Value – The effectiveness of insulation is quantified by its R-value. In most modern homes, the minimum recommendation is R-38 for attic insulation. Less than this and you are probably leaking hot or cold air.
- It does not have to match – You can use blown insulation or batts in your attic or you can combine the two. Do not tear out existing insulation if it needs improvement, simply add more. If you want to add insulation, it is best to hire a certified contractor like Sunshine Contracting to make it is done properly.
- It should be deep – A good measure for whether or not you have enough insulation is how deep it is in the attic. Insulation should cover the floor to a depth of about 12 inches, or enough to completely cover the joists in the attic.
- It is not just for the floor – It is important to make sure that pipes and air ducts are also insulated with foam wrap to prevent heat transfer and maximize the effectiveness of central air and water heaters.
- More is not always better – At some point, there is a law of diminishing returns. If your insulation already meets the standards listed above, adding more may not do very much to improve your efficiency, and so may not be cost-effective.
If you are buying an older home, make sure to check the quality of the attic insulation and factor any necessary changes into the sale price of the home. Effective insulation is one of the keys to having a quality living experience.