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Attic Insulation Saves Money

Adding attic insulation to your home can lower your heating and cooling costs by as much as $600 per year.

We are often asked about the best ways to save energy, and we tell everyone that by boosting the amount of attic insulation from R-11 to R-49, you can save about $600 per year in energy costs.

Depending on the type of materials you use, figure on paying an insulation contractor about $1,500 to add attic insulation to an 800-square-foot attic, which pays back your investment in about three years. You’ll spend about half that to do the job yourself.

Do You Really Need More Attic Insulation?

A quick, easy way to check if you need attic insulation is to look across your attic floor. If the existing insulation comes up just to the tops of the joists, then you probably need to add insulation. If you can’t see the joists and the insulation is well above the tops of the joists, you’re probably okay and you won’t really recoup the cost of adding more.

Methods of Adding Attic Insulation

Roll-on or blanket type of attic insulation is just one way to add more insulationRoll-on or Blanket-Type Insulation comes as rolls of fiberglass batts, either 15 or 23 inches wide. It’s designed to fit between the width of typical framing. If your attic already has some insulation in the attic floor, roll out the batts at right angles to insulate over the framing.

If you’re doing the attic insulation job yourself, blanket-type material is the easiest to work with. Be careful not to compress it or it won’t be as effective.

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Blown-in Insulation requires a special machine that shoots a stream of loose-fill cellulose over the existing attic floor framing. This is typically a job for an insulation contractor. The advantage is that loose-fill insulation does a great job of filling in small crevices and other hard-to-reach areas that are difficult, at best, with roll insulation.

Sprayed Foam Polyurethane is a good choice if you plan to turn your attic into a finished room. In that case, you’ll want to insulate the roof and not the floor. Sprayed foam polyurethane molds to rafters, blocks water vapor, and has a high R-rating per inch. Expect to pay about double the per-square-foot cost of roll-on and loose-fill insulation.

How Much Attic Insulation Do You Need?

To determine how much attic insulation you need, look up the recommended amount for your area and subtract the value of whatever amount you already have in your attic. You can figure it out by using the Home Energy Saver online energy audit tool here.

These are just a few ideas for saving money and energy by adding more attic insulation to your home. Check our other articles on Home Energy Efficiency and Savings here.

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