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Giving your attic proper insulation is one of the simplest ways to put a lid on your heating and cooling bills in Nebraska!
Depending on what you're starting with, you can drop your heating and cooling costs by 10 to 50 percent. But roof or attic insulation is actually the second step in reining in your energy bills. The first step is air sealing.
Some insulations, like spray foam, can act as both air barrier and insulation. Others insulation materials, like fiberglass and cellulose, require a separate step for air sealing, one that relies on caulking and other air barrier materials.
Choosing the Right Insulation for Your Attic
Which materials are best and how insulation you need in your attic are both dependent on the construction of your roof. Flat ceiling houses with attic trusses are the simplest to air seal and insulate, while houses with sloped ceilings and dormers constructed of solid wood are more challenging.
Fibrous insulation or foam insulation? What's the best for your Omaha home?
We need to know some things about your attic to figure out the best approach to improving your home performance, including:
Does it have irregular joist or truss spacing?
Are there a lot of obstructions and penetrations?
Is there existing insulation? How do we best top it up?
Is there limited headroom? Can we get at the whole attic easily?
American Energy Advisors provides an energy audit to determine what kind and exactly how much attic or roof insulation you need and whether or not a radiant barrier is suitable for your house. Our team will also point out severe air leakage areas around plumbing and electrical penetrations, attic hatches and top plates.
The Bad Things That Might Be in Your Attic
Your attic is not a storage area, no matter how romantic it sounds or looks in old books and movies. Fibrous insulation doesn't work if it's squashed flat under boxes and bins, or sheets of plywood. It needs air! Fibrous insulation relies on the spaces between the fibres -- the loft -- to slow down the rate of heat loss.
Any existing batt insulation that is compressed, wet or moldy has lost it's R-value (or thermal resistance) and is useless. It will need to be taken out and disposed of.
If your house was built before 1990 and you have a loose insulation that is lightweight with shiny flecks, it could be vermiculite -- it may have asbestos in it. We can work with you to get it tested and removed.
What's Enough Insulation?
In cold climates like Nebraska, the Department of Energy recommends a minimum of R-49 for unfinished unconditioned attics. You may qualify for rebates or financing to help you make the target insulation values that will save you money for many years to come.