The attic is one of the primary spaces where you can prevent energy loss in the home. Attic insulation is the key to creating an effective barrier against unwanted heat exchange. The overall effectiveness of the attic, however, also depends on moisture control through proper ventilation.
Insulation and air sealing
Home comfort experts extol the benefits of insulation and air sealing. Having adequate insulation levels in your home can reduce energy bills by as much as 30 percent. Insulation efficiency is rated through its R-value. For the San Diego area, the following attic insulation guidelines are recommended:
- In uninsulated attics, add R38-R50.
- To improve existing insulation, add 4 to 10 inches of insulation in an effort to acheive a mininum of R38 insulation. R50 is the most desirable level.
Insulation by itself is not enough. Even a well insulated attic allows air to pass through the many holes that were made during the construction process. These holes were drilled to run electrical wires, plumbing pipes, gas lines and air ducts. These penetrations allow air to pass from the attic space into your home, not only wasting valuable energy but bringing polluted air from your attic into your living environment. For a clean, healthy and energy efficient home, all of these penetrations between the attic and the living space should be sealed.
When moisture is allowed to enter an attic space, insulation can become soaked, rendering it ineffective. Problems such as mold growth and damage to the wood structure of the home may also occur. To boot, moisture from the attic can find its way to the home’s living space causing further problems. You know you have a moisture problem in your attic if you find:
- Damaged drywall on your ceiling
- Warped wood.
- Shingles that are warped around the periphery of the roof.
- Evidence of mold.
The most common ways moisture enters your attic are via roof leaks, condensation leaks from your air conditioner, leaky water pipes or damaged sprinkler systems.
To avoid moisture problems and provide the best possible conditions for insulation to do its job effectively, ventilation is critical. Avoid venting exhaust fans into the attic. Instead, direct that moisture directly out of home. You can also improve attic ventilation by installing ridged vents under roof leaves and soffits to allow some air into the attic.
Combined with effective moisture-proofing and proper ventilation, an insulation upgrade can significantly improve the comfort of your home and give your attic a fighting chance against energy loss.
Energy Upgrade California Can Help
Energy Upgrade California is a program designed to help you perform energy upgrades like insulation and air sealing to your home in an effort to reduce residential energy usage in the state California. You can get as much as $4000 towards these upgrades.
For more information about attic insulation, air sealing and Energy Upgrade California contact the home comfort and energy experts at ASI Hastings Heating & Air.