Adding attic insulation is one of the most cost-effective home improvements you can make. It keeps your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, which reduces the workload on your heating and cooling systems. This translates to lower energy costs and reduced carbon emissions, which benefits your health and the environment.
Before adding any new insulation, check your attic for adequate existing insulation. Inspect the space for cracks, water damage, and pests, and ensure that all penetrations into the attic (such as ducts, pipes, wires, and vents) are sealed. If not, these gaps allow warm air to seep into your attic from the conditioned spaces of your home.
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Once you’ve determined that you have adequate attic insulation, you can install more, if needed. The type of insulation you choose depends on your specific situation and the climate where you live. The most common attic insulation is fiberglass batts, which are rated up to R-38 and are sized to fit between the standard spacing of attic joists. You can also opt for fiberglass rolls, which are easier to transport and cut into desired lengths.
Cellulose insulation — made of recycled, ground-up paper with boric acid added for insect control and fire resistance — is another great choice for attic insulation. It has a higher R-value and can be purchased in bags from your local home improvement store. However, it requires the use of an insulation blower that most homeowners don’t have access to, so hiring a professional is often the best option.