Adding insulation to your attic is one of the most effective ways to save money on utility bills and make your home energy efficient.

However, there are many things to consider when applying attic insulation, as it involves buying the right equipment, knowing how much materials to buy, and hiring the right type of labor. Not only that, there are federal, state, and local regulations regarding home insulation that needs to be taken into account before embarking on this process.

New Jersey homeowners will need to evaluate these various components to make sure they’re getting the best possible attic insulation for their homes. In this article, we discuss what New Jersey residents need to keep an eye on to make sure your attic stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

New Jersey Attic Insulation Guide

What type of insulation is best for New Jersey attics?

Depending on which parts of your attic you’re trying to insulate, we recommend two different types of insulation products.

New Jersey Attic Insulation - Blown in and Reflective Insulation

Floor Insulation

For attic floors, there are two main types of insulation: roll and batt insulation and loose-fill or blown-in insulation. Batt and roll work best between joist and stud spaces, or for wide-open spaces or crawl spaces. Blown-in insulation works best for extremely tight spaces, or if an area already has insulation installed but needs a little more to top it off. They’re also useful for filling wood joists, as they allow air through the spaces and require insulation.

In New Jersey, it’s more likely than not that your attic is going to need insulation in tight spaces. Blown-in insulation is perfect for that scenario, as it provides better coverage in smaller areas and is less expensive than roll and batt insulation. You can purchase fiberglass or cellulose insulation, whichever you prefer. Just remember that installing blown-in insulation is going to require a special machine that you’ll likely need to rent.

Roof Insulation

For insulation under your roof, we recommend using multi-layer reflective insulation. That might sound complicated, but we assure you it’s quite simple and is extremely beneficial for efficiently heating or cooling your home.

During summer months, the sun’s radiant energy heats your roof shingles, which then transfers that heat into your attic through conduction. Your attic then becomes much hotter and stuffy, and the heat travels down into the rest of your home, making the entire house hot. During the winter, it has the opposite effect, as the heat generated by your heaters escape through the attic.

Multi-layer reflective insulation addresses this issue by reflecting radiant heat rather than letting your attic absorb it. Thus, radiant heat can’t get through your attic roof and walls as easily, allowing your attic and the rest of your home to be better air-conditioned. During the winter, the heat generated from inside will also be reflected back into the attic and home, making your home that much warmer.

Depending on where you live, an average summer in New Jersey can bring 15 to even 40 days of temperatures over 90 degrees, while winters bring 28 to 16-degree weather. Suffice to say, having multi-layer reflective insulation in your attic will allow your house to be more energy-efficient, and save a considerable amount on your electricity bill.

Knowing which materials to use is a key step in the process. The subsequent component deals with just how much attic insulation you’re going to need for your New Jersey home.

How much attic insulation do you need in New Jersey?

To determine how much insulation you’re going to need, measure the length times the width of the attic or whichever space you’re trying to insulate to get the square footage. For blown-in insulation, reference the back of the package to determine the proper height to get the correct R-value for your project.

The R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance, or how much the insulation can properly resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation will be in keeping warm air in or out of your attic.

Depending on where you are in the United States, the R-value that you’ll need is going to differ due to varying climate conditions. In fact, there are 8 different climate zones designated by the U.S. Department of Energy that has different R-value recommendations for attics, basements, and other walls. Due to the differences in climate between Northern and Southern Jersey in the winter months, the state is split into two such climate zones.

New Jersey Attic Insulation - R-Value Map

Bergen, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, or Warren counties are all designated as Climate Zone 5. For residents in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem, or Union, they are in Climate Zone 4. For these New Jersey attics, an R38-R60 is recommended.

Northern Jersey counties, that is Climate Zone 5 counties, are going to have slightly colder winters, and therefore require higher R-value insulation. The R-value will also depend on whether or not there is already insulation installed in your attic prior to the procedure. Typically, attics without any prior insulation is going to require higher R-values for better insulation. For these New Jersey attics, an R49-R60 is recommended.

Thus, square footage and R-values are important determinants of how much insulation you’re going to need for your attic. If you’re unsure about exactly how much insulation you’re going to need, there are R-value calculators online, or you can call a contractor for an accurate quote.

How much does attic insulation cost in New Jersey?

Get a free attic inspection and quote to insulate your attic.

Once you’ve figured out what insulation you need and how much needs to be installed, you’re on your way to contacting a contractor and starting the process. But before you do so, it’s important to understand the costs involved with attic insulation.

Generally speaking, attic insulation can cost anywhere from $1,700 to $2,100, or between $1.50 to $3.50 per foot, depending on the material you choose and how much space you need to cover. As we noted earlier, blown-in insulation is the cheapest option. However, contractors often charge around $70 an hour, and in some cases, you might need to hire an electrician to make sure you aren’t disrupting any junction boxes or cables when insulating the attic. Electricians charge up to $85 an hour.

For New Jersey homes, the cost of insulating your attic doesn’t necessarily vary a whole lot, but it’s still important to research average costs depending on where you live. Every house is going to be different, and every city or county is going to have different code regulations. Make sure you check your local building codes for not only R-values but also vapor barrier requirements.

For example, homeowners in Newark, New Jersey paid on average $1,635 for attic insulation. Compare that to a more Southern city in New Jersey (ex. Ocean City), the average cost is about $1,679.

Manta’s database estimates attic insulation costs based on each city in New Jersey, making it a reliable tool for determining your budget. Even Manta, however, recognizes that their estimates do not include things like permit costs, inspection fees, and labor fees, as that often varies depending on location and contractor rates.

Before contacting a professional to start applying insulation, ask yourself these questions about attic-dependent work outside of insulation:

  • Is everything in your attic air sealed? Do you need to fix your ductwork to prevent moisture buildup?
  • Does your attic have good ventilation? Does everything that’s ventilating into the attic have a way out of it?
  • Is there any mold in your attic? Have you contracted someone to come remove said mold?

If you have all of these bases covered, your attic insulation budget will be far more accurate. Contractors will also have an easier time getting your attic checked and insulated if you’ve taken care of the listed components.

How to hire a New Jersey attic insulation contractor

Once you’ve figured out your attic insulation cost, what types of insulation you need, and how much of it that’s needed, it’s most likely time to find the contractor who can handle the process.

An insulation contractor will be able to properly inspect your attic and decide the necessary steps to take for updating your home’s insulation. You can consult with contractors about what type of insulation to use, R-values, and many of the other components we discussed earlier.

But choosing the right contractor is going to make or break the process, and it can be difficult to choose between tens of dozens of professionals who claim that they’re the best in the business. We’ve identified a few things to keep in mind when hiring an attic insulation contractor.

First and foremost, pick someone who is thorough and transparent about your attic. If your contractor comes by your house for an inspection, and they perform various diagnostic tests and look through every corner of your attic, that’s an indication of their experience and reliability. Beware of contractors who take a quick peek in your attic and simply suggest putting in a few inches of insulation. A good contractor should initiate conversations about your attic’s insulation and ventilation issues, and provide detailed steps on how to move forward.

But don’t base your decision on just a single interaction with the contractor. Go online and look through their services and offers. If they provide things like lifetime warranties, that means a contractor is not only confident in their work, they’re willing to follow up on their services to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Check their online reviews as well to see what others are saying about a contractor. If reviews are generally positive, that’s a sign of a reliable contractor.

Attic insulation is anything but simple, but New Jersey homeowners will greatly benefit from doing the proper research and spending their money on the right services and products. A properly insulated attic translates into a much more comfortable and energy-efficient home.

Reflective insulation has emerged over the years as a versatile option for keeping homeowners’ electricity bills down by making their houses more energy-efficient. It’s become extremely useful in attics during the summer months due to its ability to reflect the sun’s radiant heat back outside instead of letting the attic insulation absorb it and make the entire house warmer.

However, we often get questions about whether reflective attic insulation is detrimental to roof shingles due to its reflective ability. After all, if they’re sending that hot sunlight back outside through the roof, wouldn’t it be going through the roof shingles and deteriorating them?

In this article, we want to answer that question once and for all and provide detailed explanations on how reflective attic insulation works, how they function in accordance with roof shingles, and why they don’t have the deleterious effects on shingles that some may think.

What is reflective attic insulation?

What is Reflective Attic Insulation

First, it’s important to go over what reflective attic insulation is, how it works, and its various benefits for homeowners.

During the summer, your attic becomes incredibly hot due to the sun’s radiant energy heating the roof shingles. The shingles then transfer that heat through the roof into the attic through conduction. The heat becomes trapped up there and the only direction it can move is down towards the east of the house, causing it to become warmer.

In the winter, the heat that’s generated from your house has the opposite effect. The warmth generated from your heaters travel to the attic, and since science dictates that heat moves from warm areas to cold areas, the heat escapes outside. These processes end up making your summer months hotter and your winters colder, eventually driving up your air conditioning and electricity bills.

Reflective attic insulation addresses this issue by reflecting radiant heat back to its source rather than absorbing it. Highly reflective material reflects the radiant heat from the sun while keeping the heat generated from inside your home from escaping by reflecting it back into the house. Reflective attic insulation generally takes the form of sheets of foil that are placed on the ground or walls of your attic.

This can be extremely beneficial for homeowners during the summer, a time where cranking the AC is nearly unavoidable. By reducing radiant heat from entering through the attic, your home becomes much more energy-efficient, therefore reducing your electricity bill. This energy efficiency carries over to the winter months, as reflective attic insulation transfers heat back down and keeps your house warmer.

All of this might sound great on paper, and perhaps some readers may already be familiar with how reflective attic insulation works. It’s important, then, to address whether reflective attic insulation has actually been effective in practice.

Want more information on reflective attic insulation? Read our full article on what is and how it works here.

How effective is reflective attic insulation?

There have been numerous studies conducted to test whether reflective insulation works as intended, and the extent to which they can reduce heat transfer into homes. Through these studies, scientists have that reflective insulation is relatively effective at reducing heat flow and making homes cooler

A 2013 study observed percentage reductions in heat flow – or the movement of heat from the sun towards a surface – of 25% to 42% in ceilings that used reflective insulation. Furthermore, a 2019 study found that reflective insulation reduces indoor summer heat gains by as little as 10% and as much as 53% while reducing indoor summer surface temperatures by as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. They also discovered that reflective insulation reduces heat gains during the daytime while dissipating heat through the house at night, resulting in better indoor cooling throughout the entire day.

These statistics show that reflective insulation, especially when applied to the heat-trapping nature of most attics, can be effective in reducing overall heat during hotter months. But this doesn’t completely address the question of how roofs and roof shingles are affected by the reflective process. After all, won’t the heat that’s being reflected back to the sun heat up the roof as well?

How reflective attic insulation impacts roofs

Unlike traditional insulation materials such as fiberglass or foam, reflective attic insulation does not hold radiant heat once it comes in contact with it. It reflects about 90% to 97% of the heat back to the roofing materials, at which point the roof emits most of that heat back into the air almost immediately.

All of this may sound oversimplified, so investigating the details of how reflective attic insulation manages to do this is warranted, as is debunking various myths about roofing performance once you’ve installed reflective insulation.

Will it overheat my roof shingles?

As we stated, reflective attic insulation does not substantially increase roof temperature, even during the hottest months of the year. Roofs with reflective insulation installed in the attic will only see minor temperature increases, generally between 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Most asphalt roof shingles are designed to handle incredibly high temperatures, well above the maximum temperatures that most houses actually experience in any given year.

It’s important to note that roof temperatures are determined by two factors: the color of the shingles and the ventilation of the surfaces beneath it. As for color, dark-colored shingles can increase roof temperatures significantly, often generating about 20 degrees more heat than light-colored roofs. Ventilation is a key component of roof temperatures as well since air temperature and wind movement can have a cooling effect on rooftops. Roofs absorb heat from the sun, but airflow can also cool roofs and help bring down overall temperature.

As such, black asphalt roof shingles absorb over 90% of the heat that strikes them, allowing them to easily heat up to over 170 degrees on a hot day. But taken into context, a homeowner with reflective attic insulation will not substantially increase their roof temperatures, as that heat that is being radiated through the roof shingles are immediately being reflected back outside.

So if you’re wondering whether reflective insulation is going to melt your roof shingles, take comfort in knowing that won’t be the case. If anything, the color of your asphalt shingles is a greater determinant of your roof temperature.

Where does the reflected heat go?

While it’s certainly true that installing reflective insulation under a roof will cause that roof to heat up, this accounts for about 2 to 10 degrees of actual heat increase. The heat that would usually be absorbed by your attic’s insulation is instead being bounced back to the roof deck. This causes the roof to emit more heat upward back to the source, rather than emitting it both upward and downward and heating up your attic in the process.

The roof is essentially gaining heat, then immediately losing it by having reflective insulation underneath the shingles. Think of it as having a single light bulb in a room. The bulb sends out light and heat throughout the entire room, illuminating everything around it. Say you add a reflector to the bulb. Now the light and the associated heat are being redirected downward. The amount of light and heat has not changed – only the direction in which it’s emitting.

This is essentially what happens with roofs with reflective attic insulation installed. The amount of heat on a roof hasn’t changed by a whole lot, but instead of radiating that heat in every direction – as in upwards toward the sky and down into the attic – it’s mostly being radiated upward and away from your home.

How does reflective attic insulation help my roof?

Like we mentioned earlier, studies have shown that reflective insulation allows homes to be more energy efficient by dissipating heat throughout the house at night. Traditional insulation material can absorb heat during the night, and dissipate it all around the house and even outwards onto the roof itself.

Reflective attic insulation blocks much of the heat from reaching mass insulation, thereby preventing your house from warming up and your air conditioning turning on in the middle of the night. This process inadvertently extends the life cycle of your roof shingles, since radiant heat isn’t being emitted out onto the roof by mass insulation during the night.

So is reflective attic insulation good for my roof?

This answer may vary depending on where you live, how much sunlight you receive during the summer and a few other factors. However, reflective attic insulation is generally positive for most homeowners, as it not only provides greater energy efficiency during hot summer months, it can improve the durability of your roof shingles.

If your home is covered by shade throughout most of the year, you won’t be able to enjoy all of the benefits that come with reflective attic insulation due to the lack of sunlight that your roof will be exposed to. But if your roof is constantly exposed to sunlight, reflective insulation will help your home remain cool while reducing wear and tear on the roof shingles themselves.

As such, reflective attic insulation should not void your shingle manufacturer’s warranties, but factors such as attic ventilation and water vapor transmission should be considered when evaluating the state of your shingles.

Most homeowners never consider what kind of chemicals are literally over their heads. And by chemicals, we mean attic insulation material.

There’s a myriad of choices when it comes to insulation. What most customers don’t know, however, is that several types of insulation may contain hazardous material that can fuel long-term health problems.

For the sake of space, we’re going to place two types of insulation under our “blog microscope” (blog-oscope?) – Closed Cell/Spray Foam and Blown-in Fiberglass. Spoiler alert: blown-in fiberglass turns out to be safer AND more energy efficient.

Danger Above: Spray Polyurethane Foam

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF), as the name implies, is, well, spray foam composed of polyurethane. SPF’s are classified as high, medium, or low density. Attic insulation falls into medium or low. Medium-density SPF’s are sometimes called “closed-cell foam” because they are contained within an internal closed-shell configuration to improve thermal resistance. To make this simple: All closed-cell foam is SPF but not all SPF is closed-cell.

SPF has been a popular attic insulation choice because of its high R-value. Readers may recall the term from previous posts. EnergyStar defines R-value as “a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation.”

Sounds great, right? Well, here’s the problem. SPF contains a harmful chemical scarily named
isocyanates. Now, if isocyanates stay locked inside the insulation, it’s probably not an issue.

However, the EPA notes: “If SPF was not applied properly, chemical contaminants may have migrated to hard and/or soft surfaces elsewhere in the building and may be the source of residual odors; therefore, removal may not resolve the issue.”

Think about your attic for a moment:

• What do you know about the composition of your attic insulation?
• Was it installed before you bought the home?
• What were the qualifications of the installer?
• Why do you have 5 years’ worth of magazines up there?

It’s likely the answers are “Not much,” “No idea,” “Dunno who installed, “Hey, those special editions of Good Housekeeping will only increase in value!” Therefore, most homeowners have no way of knowing if they have SPF or if it has been properly installed and, as such, don’t know if isocyanates have seeped out. Yikes!

What’s the worst that can happen if your attic is a ticking isocyanate time bomb? Let’s ask OSHA:

“Health effects of isocyanate exposure include irritation of skin and mucous membranes, chest tightness, and difficult breathing. Isocyanates include compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals. The main effects of hazardous exposures are occupational asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.”

According to Metropolitan Engineering Consulting and Forensics:

“We do know for sure that the prevalence of asthma in the overall United States population has
increased by almost 100 percent since the early 1980’s and links have been reported between these foams and the asthma or dermatitis incidents. A study that was done by Krone, et al. and published in the publication Environmental Contamination and Toxicology in 2003 showed that isocyanates in foam containing consumer products were present 30 years post-manufacture.”

Stay Safe with Blown-in Fiberglass

Commonly composed of fiberglass or cellulose, blown-in insulation is (surprise) blown into attic spaces like confetti. The tiny particles seep snugly into any space and can fill existing walls with minimal damage to any desired depth.

Of course, no insulation type is 100-percent without potential health risks. However, blown-in fiberglass offers maximum benefit with minimum risk – especially when installed by a qualified pro.

  • Blown-in insulation keeps indoor attic temperatures cooler in summer. In addition, blown-in stops heated and cooled air from leaking out. Since it fits into the smallest spaces, blown-in maximizes HVAC performance. Consumers report blown-in insulation often saves so much in energy costs that installation pays for itself in a couple of years.
  • Blown-in fiberglass insulation also reduces the risk of fire. Since it creates a tight seal across the attic, air can’t flow through small spaces to stoke a blaze.
  • Blown-in is easy to install quickly by a qualified installation team – often within a few hours.
  • Because blown-in creates such a tight seal, overall household noise is reduced. And, in these trying times when we’re stuck at home, a quiet home is a peaceful home.

Choose Wisely: The Right Pro for the Job

If you’re convinced that perhaps your attic needs some attention, the first step is an inspection. Attics and More offers a free attic inspection to determine if you have the safest and most efficient attic insulation, as well as uncovering other trouble spots. If blown-in installation is the best option, we’ve got you covered.

EnergyStar notes: “It is easier to get complete coverage of the attic floor with blown-in loose-fill insulation. It is best to hire an insulation contractor for this job.”

Contact us today to discuss how we can identify what’s above your head and … how safe it might be.

Every summer and winter season brings its own unique challenges each year, but trying to keep your home well insulated during the hottest or coldest months is always an annoying hurdle.

No matter what you try, there’s always a stretch of days or even weeks where you just can’t get the temperature where you want it. Having to crank your home’s AC during the summer or bundle up in blankets to combat the winter cold should never have to happen.

One of the biggest reasons why you can’t seem to control your the temperature in your home can be the attic. Attics often trap heat from the sun and transfer it into your home, or let heat generated from your air conditioning escape outside. Luckily, installing insulation in your attic allows you to reverse many of these effects.

In this article we discuss how reflective attic insulation works, their uses and benefits, and even some of the myths surrounding them to give you a comprehensive understanding of this innovative home-insulation method.

Reflective Attic Insulation

What is reflective attic insulation?

During summer months, the sun’s radiant energy heats your roof shingles, which then transfers that heat into the attic through conduction. The temperature of the attic increases, and the heat is eventually released down towards the rest of the house.

During the winter months, heat can have a similar effect but from the inside. The warmth generated from your heaters can escape in various ways, keeping your home from being as warm as it can be. This process makes your hot summer months that much hotter, and your chilly winter that much colder, driving up your air conditioning and electricity bills.

Reflective attic insulation addresses this issue by reflecting radiant heat rather than absorbing it. This system consists of highly reflective material – usually foil – that reflects heat from the sun to keep it from entering your home, while keeping heat from inside your home from exiting. They generally take the form of sheets of foil that are placed on the ground or walls of your attic.

How reflective attic insulation works

Heat travels through conduction and radiation. Heat flows by conduction from a hotter location within a material to a colder location. Radiant heat travels in a straight line away from a surface and heats anything solid that can absorb its energy.

Reflective insulation systems work by reducing radiant heat gain. When the sun heats a roof, its radiant energy makes the roof itself hot. Through conduction, the heat travels from the roofing material to the walls of an attic. The hot roof material then radiates that gained heat energy onto the cooler attic surfaces. The reflective attic insulation reduces the heat transfer from the hot roof material to the attic surfaces. Similarly, radiant heat generated from inside the home can be reflected back through the same reflective insulation material.

Benefits of reflective attic insulation

The most apparent benefit to reflective attic insulation is a cooler attic, which translates to a cooler home. Because heat isn’t getting trapped inside the attic, less heat is being transferred to the lower levels. Multi-layer reflective attic insulation can block up to 97% of radiant heat transfer, translating to an attic heat reduction of almost 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

This reduction in heat during summer months can be extremely beneficial for homeowners during the summer, where you’re already having to turn on air conditioning. By reducing radiant heat from entering through the attic, your home becomes that much cooler, and your electricity bills decline as a result.

Science dictates that heat moves up from warm areas to cold areas, so heat generated by your heating system naturally moves up toward your freezing attic. If you have reflective attic insulation installed, it transfers that heat back down and keeps the house warmer.

The reduced attic temperatures increases the efficiency of attic ductwork. This reduces cycle time and takes the pressure off your home’s heating and cooling systems, thereby prolonging their life cycles.

Myths about reflective attic insulation

There have been a number of myths about reflective insulation over the years, particularly with how the design affects the overall performance of reflective attic insulation.

Neither the color nor the reflectance (effectiveness of reflecting energy) makes any reflective attic insulation more efficient at doing its job, as the typical foil used in most systems gets the job done. And while reflective attic insulation certainly helps reduce air conditioning costs for many homes, it’s not the end-all-be-all of efficient energy design. It must be integrated as part of a larger cohesive building plan centered around energy efficiency.

Also, many think that NASA invented reflective insulation materials – they did not. But they have used it on spacesuits and spacecrafts for insulation, which speaks to the system’s effectiveness for trapping heat inside and outside of homes.

Is reflective attic insulation right for your home?

Every home is different, so the best way to determine if a reflective attic insulation makes sense for your home is through a detailed attic inspection. Aside from assessing your existing insulation systems, an attic inspection can provide a number of other insights.

Attic inspections can uncover problems in the attic, such as mold growth from poor ventilation, and energy efficiency issues due to poor air sealing and insufficient insulation. If you’re interested in getting a free attic inspection and quote for reflective attic insulation, please contact us. We’ll be happy to come out to your home and determine if our reflective insulation products make sense for you and your home.

Maintaining proper levels of attic insulation not only keeps your home cooler in the summer and warmer come wintertime, but also shaves your energy bills. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates homeowners could reduce energy costs by 10 to 50 percent with proper attic insulation. According to EnergyStar: “The attic is usually where you can find some of the largest opportunities to save energy in your home.”

Winter has passed, but the sweltering heat waves of summer have not yet arrived, making this month an excellent time to climb on up and check out your attic’s insulation situation.

When Enough is Enough

An under-insulated attic is a recipe for a drafty house and higher bills. Like any kind of home improvement project, there is a “Goldilocks Zone” for sufficient insulation – a level of “just right.”

While a “back-of-the-napkin” analysis will help any homeowner make decisions on proper insulation, nothing beats partnering with an attic professional. An energy analysis by a qualified professional can provide an actionable evaluation for your insulation needs. However, if you decide to take a look for yourself, here are a few tips to determine if your attic is under-insulated.

Know Your Material

Whether you’ve owned your home for decades or days, many homeowners rarely visit the attic and may not realize what kind of materials are being used for insulation. Older homes especially may contain insulation materials such as asbestos and Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation that have been determined to be hazardous to your health. Many modern homes are insulated with some form of fiberglass. Also, homeowners are discovering the energy-saving advantages of multi-layer reflective insulation. Attics and More uses a patented MLI called eShield. There are three types of heat flow – conductive, convective and radiation – that can cause an attic to become hot in the summer or lose heat in the winter, making it more difficult and expensive to regulate the temperature of your home. Traditional insulation does a sufficient job combating two of the most common types of heat flow, conductive and convective heat, but is ineffective against radiant – a third type of heat transfer that comes from the sun. This is where the eShield™ radiant barrier insulation comes in. This state-of-the-art attic insulation reflects 97 percent of all radiant heat transfer – a leading cause of home energy waste.

R You Ready for R-Value?

To determine if your attic is under-insulated, it’s time to “get mathy” and assess your insulation’s R-value. R-value is not a concept you slept through in calculus class. Instead, it’s the measure of your insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value, the better the insulation’s thermal performance. If the insulation level sits even with or below the top of your floor joists, it’s time for more insulation. Check out our recent blog post for more tips on determining R-value (and no, this won’t be on the final exam!).

Furthermore, unlike other blown-in insulation products on the market, ours is the only one that is guaranteed to maintain its R-value level for as long as you own your home, so you can rest assured that you’re investing in a quality, effective product. Additionally, our air sealing service, which seals holes and leaks in the house, can significantly cut down on air leakage in the attic and can have an immediate impact on your monthly energy bills.

Next Up to Batt…

Batt insulation is pre-cut into flat sheets and is usually made of fiberglass or rock wool. It often includes a foil or paper facing that serves as a vapor barrier. While partnering with a professional will ensure the right material and correct quantity, you can lay down batted insulation on your own; but, please follow these guidelines (courtesy of This Old House):

  • “Wear a long-sleeve shirt, gloves, eye protection, and a dust mask.
  • Make sure you use an unfaced batt (one without a paper or foil layer), so the insulation does not trap moisture in the ceiling.
  • Lay the batts perpendicular to the joists, so they do not compress the insulation below.
  • Use cardboard or rigid-foam baffles to keep soffit vents open.
  • Fill all cracks between the living area and the attic with caulk or expanding foam.”

Blown Away

The primary alternative to batted insulation is blown insulation. In addition to our radiant barrier insulation, we also offer our own blown-in insulation and air sealing service, which together comprise “The Perfect Attic System.” The benefit of this advanced system that we’ve developed is that it is designed to combat all three types of heat transfer – where our blown-in insulation and air sealing service limit conductive and convective heat flow, our reflective foil insulation is effective against radiant heat. As a result, we’re able to offer you a level of comprehensive protection that can’t be beat.

This is commonly composed of fiberglass or cellulose, blown insulation is – as it sounds – blown into the spaces of your attic like confetti with a (you guessed it) blower. The small particles fit snugly into any space and can fill existing walls with minimal damage and to the desired depth. While it’s often the least expensive choice, the fiberglass particles can irritate the lungs, skin, and eyes. Blown insulation has also been known to cause problems with holding moisture and mold.

While going down the DIY path is doable, remember that insulation installation is a precision process. Improper addition of insulation can encourage mold growth and, if you fail to add proper ventilation, moisture can accumulate in the attic.

A qualified specialist can provide a comprehensive overview of your attic’s needs. EnergyStar recommends considering a professional if you experience:

  • “Difficult attic access and limited space to work
  • Wet or damp insulation, indicating a leaky roof
  • Moldy or rotted attic rafters or floor joists, indicating moisture problems
  • Kitchen, bathroom or clothes dryer vents that exhaust moist air directly into the attic space instead of outdoors
  • Little or no attic ventilation
  • Knob and tube wiring (pre-1930), which can be a fire hazard when in contact with insulation.”In addition to enhancements such as eShield insulation, homes may benefit from solar-powered attic ventilation systems.

Don’t Forget to Seal Those Leaks

The gaps — often difficult to locate without thorough inspection — allow for temperature-controlled indoor air to escape outside. This is the source problem behind drafts and cold spots throughout homes.

Poor sealing is a problem for all seasons. Indoor temperature control is most notably necessary during warm and hot seasons, as heated and cooled air is essential for a comfortable home environment. Even then, the effects of improper sealing are felt across the calendar, allowing for energy escape at any point.

Have to Move That Air Around

When a home is well-ventilated, temperature control efforts are more diversely spread throughout the home. This means that air conditioners and heaters don’t have to work as hard to keep designated areas the desired temperature. When appliances don’t work hard, their energy output is lowered, resulting in a tangible reduction to home energy bills over time.

While Dorothy had it right in The Wizard of Oz when she said, “There’s no place like home,” we can say with confidence that “There’s no place like a properly insulated home, Toto.” Attics and More is a phone call away to ensure your attic is properly sealed, insulated, and ventilated for the best energy savings and most comfortable environment in your home.