Most families don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the attic. But most families should! Insulation in the attic has a huge impact on the cash you spend keeping the house warm all winter long.
The attic loses heat through all kinds of different sources, like:
- The return grill.
- The interior wall top plate.
- The attic access hatch.
- The supply grill.
- The exterior wall top plate.
- Recessed top floor lights.
But it doesn’t have to. Here’s how you can take care of that lost heat for good.
Starting with the insulation
Grab a ruler or tape measure, open the attic access hatch and measure the depth of your insulation.
If your insulation is less than 18 inches thick, you need more. 18 inches in the minimum required to keep a house in this part of the world insulated.
It’s always better to err on the side of more insulation. It’s affordable and can save you thousands of dollars in energy loss over the lifetime of the product.
Because of a lack of insulation in the attic, most families keep the attic toasty warm. Insulation helps make sure you only heat your living space.
Moving on to the leaks
Most homeowners are comfortable with minor repairs and upgrades, but taking care of attic air leaks is a more involved process and is best left to a contractor.
Before hiring your contractor, do a quick check of the Natural Resources Canada energy rebates website for your area. You might find some useful money saving incentives.
When recording estimates from contractors, make sure the estimate includes installation of insulation baffles so your attic maintains good airflow.
Once you hire your contractor, make sure they do the job right.
- Contractors should look for and seal air leaks in the attic floor before adding any insulation. Moving air reduces the effectiveness of attic insulation.
- Air ducts can be buried under insulation as long as they are thoroughly sealed first.
- Weatherstripping should be installed around the attic door.
- New insulation is fine to install over existing, as long as the existing insulation isn’t wet or mouldy.
- Point out the air ducts to your contractor so they don’t accidentally step on one.
- Talk to your contractor about taking care of any light fixtures sticking up into the attic floor. They should be covered and sealed prior to installing new insulation.
- Make sure they seal the hole in the attic near the plumbing vent pipe.
You bought the efficient furnace, but it’s not worth the investment if heat is leaking out of your attic all winter.
A little investment in insulating your attic and making it airtight will pay big dividends over the long term.