Your Money Pit could have the greatest and most efficient heating system in the world, but when it comes down to it, your heating system is only as good as how well your home is insulated and sealed up. If your home is properly insulated you can actually cut your heating and cooling costs by up to 30% annually, which adds up to big savings.
First let’s talk insulation. The two most common types are fiberglass bat or blown in insulation. The type you use will depend on a few things: the space that you need to insulate, type of existing insulation, and the recommended R-Value for your area of the country. R-Value is the measure of thermal resistance or the insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-Value, the more insulating power you are going to get. Different areas of your home are going to call for different R-Values, which can get a bit confusing. The best resource to consult is www.EnergyStar.gov, which is the website for the Department of Energy. There you will find the DOE’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” a guide that provides a region-by-region list of recommended R-Values so you can be sure you have the right amount of insulation to keep you warm and keep those energy dollars in your pocket.
Your home’s attic really should top the list of places to make sure your insulation is in shape and the correct amount. For best heat retention you should have about 19 to 22 inches of insulation in your attic--an R-38. It is so important that you do not compress the insulation by storing things on top of it. If you must store things in the attic, keep a section in the center for storage and properly insulate everywhere else. You should have fluffy insulation up to the top of the floor joists and a layer of un-faced insulation on top of that running perpendicular to the floor joists. Never insulate the underside of your roof as this will only shorten the life of your roofing material. When it comes to insulation and facing, remember that the facing should face into the heated area. So if you are insulating the ceiling of your basement, place the vapor barrier, or facing, to the room above. To best attach insulation in a situation like this you will need an Arrow T50 Stapler and insulation hangers. You want to staple one side of the fastener in place along one side of the joist above, place the bat insulation into the bay and then start securing the opposing side of the insulation hanger with your T50 and continue through the entire run of the bay.
By keeping your attic’s insulation up to snuff you are definitely going to feel warmer in your home this winter and see those energy bills head south for the winter.