During the winter, the cost of heating your Sarasota area home can be surprisingly high, considering our southwest Florida climate. If your home’s attic insulation is insufficient for the climate or installed improperly, you may be spending more than you need on both heating and cooling costs. With the following tips, you can find out if you have enough insulation and how to add more, if necessary.
Checking the Current Attic Insulation
The recommended minimum insulation level for the attic floor is R-38. If your insulation is fiberglass batts, with a rating of R-2.7 per inch, you should have at least 14 inches of total insulation. If it’s loose fill, at up to R-3.8 per inch, you should have at least 10 inches. To prevent thermal bridging, or heat conduction through the floor joists, the insulation should completely fill the joist cavity with enough left to cover the tops of the joists. Also make sure that the attic insulation is in good condition, without water damage, and that it’s evenly distributed all the way out to the eaves.
Sealing and Adding Insulation
Seal any areas where air might leak through from the heated areas of the home. Use caulk or foam for cable runs or plumbing vents, and use flashing and high-temp caulk to seal around chimneys and flues. Build a box or use wire mesh to prevent insulation from contacting recessed light fixtures, and use foam insulation baffles in the eaves to maintain proper roof ventilation. Add loose fill or unfaced fiberglass batts to the existing attic insulation to acquire at least an R-38 rating, or up to an R-60 rating for the best performance. When using fiberglass batts, run the top layer perpendicular to the joists to cover any gaps in the lower layers. Cut the fiberglass insulation to fit around obstacles and avoid compressing it, as this will reduce its effective R-Value. Seal and insulate around the attic opening to prevent air leaks.
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