Warner Robins Home Inspector Offers Some Advice Concerning Insulation in Attics.
Disclaimer: Contact your physician before attempting physically challenging activities. Also, if you are unfamiliar with moving through an attic, hire a professional. Many older homes with low pitched roofs are extremely difficult to move through.
The winter months bring cooler temps, lower humidity and the perfect opportunity to get up in that attic to check your insulation! Summertime heat may prohibit a good investigation of your attic. Attic temperatures can reach 130 degrees+ in the summer months....not only uncomfortable, but dangerous. This time of year is the perfect time to check it out!
Recommended insulation values vary by region (see chart). A confusing aspect of attic insulation is the different "R values" (Resistance to heat flow).
Heat flows from warmer to cooler spaces. In the winter, this heat flow moves from heated living spaces to unheated attics, garages, crawlspaces and to the outdoors. Heat flow also moves indirectly through interior ceilings, walls, and floors-wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the cooling season, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior of a house.
Heat lost in the winter must be replaced by your heating system and heat gained in the summer must be removed by your cooling system. Properly insulating your home will decrease heat flow by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat.
The types of insulation have varying R-values. Take into consideration the density of the insulation, compressed insulation does not offer the R-value it should and "fluffed-up" insulation also provides lower R-value. There is much talk in the insulation industry presently due to fraudulent practices (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1320&dat=19821201&id=MrURAAAAIBAJ&sjid=q-kDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2784,96118).
To get a precise check of your attic/ceiling insulation R-value, a trusted insulation contractor should be hired for a thorough evaluation. To precisely determine the R-value requires "core samples" which are measured and weighed. That being said, we can still get an idea of what is going on with our insulation by simply examining and measuring what we have (or don't have) and comparing that to the R-value requirements for our region.
•· Sprayed foam insulation: R-value 4.5 to 6.5 per inch
•· Rigid insulation: R-value 4.0
•· Mineral wool: R-value 3.1 per inch to 6.5 per inch
•· Cellulose: R-value 3.2 per inch
•· Fiberglass: R-value 3.2 per inch
Insulation will compress over time. If a home is 20 years old or older, chances of significant compression and loss of R-value has probably occurred. Adding insulation over this insulation could substantially lower heating/cooling costs. The good news is, you can use an efficient and cost effective new insulation over the older insulation and you may qualify for tax break incentives! Note: Be sure not to cover any fixtures that are not rated for insulation contact or allow insulation to contact chimney or gas appliance flue pipes.
There are many helpful hints concerning insulation found by web searches. Chances are, a question you have about your particular insulation has an answer already out there. Ace Home Inspection, LLC of Warner Robins Georgia offers buyer's and seller's home inspections, Radon Measurements, Mold Survey & Sampling, Recall Check for mechanical appliances, Water Testing, Surface Lead Testing, Pool and Spa Inspections and a FREE 90 Day Limited Home Warranty. All of this provided by an ASHI and NACHI Certified Home Inspector who truly strives to provide you the best service possible.
Ace Home Inspection, LLC
Office (478) 954-9791
Fax (888) 273-9868