Rule Your Attic: Sealing and Insulating Tips
Did you know that 9 out of 10 homes in the U.S. are under-insulated? In homes across America, poorly sealed and under-insulated attics are taking money out of homeowners’ pockets in the form of high utility bills.
To encourage homeowners to take control over their high utility bills this heating season, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR program is promoting its third annual “Rule Your Attic!” campaign.
Adding insulation and sealing air leaks in your attic can help you save up to $200 per year on your home’s annual energy bills and keep you more comfortable. Many local utilities offer rebates for certain air sealing and insulation projects.
In addition to energy savings, other benefits to sealing and insulating include: reduced noise from outside; less pollen, dust and pests entering the home; and better humidity control.
Measure Your Insulation
This winter, take the first step to savings by measuring your attic’s insulation. This infographic from the EPA is a good guide to how much insulation your attic should have. If you can see the ceiling joists, you definitely don’t have enough insulation in your attic.
Check out How Much Attic Insulation Do You Need for more info.
Seal and Insulate
If you determine your attic needs more insulation, install unfaced rolls or batts over the existing insulation; or rent a blower from a home center to blow loose fill insulation into the space. Watch How to Install Fiberglass Insulation in Your Attic for details.
While you’re in the attic, check for any leaks in the HVAC ductwork. If you feel air escaping, turn off the fan and apply foil duct tape over the holes. Then, use a brush to apply duct mastic over the foil tape and joints.
Don’t forget about the drop-down attic stairway, which is typically closed off with nothing more than a thin piece of plywood. Adding an attic stair cover that acts like a tent is a simple way to prevent heat loss through the attic. Or, create your own version out of foam board.
Simple fixes, like replacing worn-out weather stripping on doors, sealing exterior cracks and caulking around windows, can be very effective in saving money and making your home more energy efficient.
The EPA cautions that homeowners should make sure to have the right safety equipment on hand. Or, you can contact a qualified contractor if you are not comfortable taking on these types of project on your own.
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