Some states have a year-long summer. Others are cold for 12 months.

In New Jersey and the Delaware Valley, homeowners experience all four seasons. Under these circumstances, there are specific actions homeowners can take to get the most out of their home.

One of these actions is improving the attic — specifically, the attic’s energy efficiency.

Keeping the attic energy efficient helps keep the home healthy during all four seasons.

Here are 4 of the best ways to improve your attic energy efficiency.

1. Improve Your Attic’s Access Point

The attic access point — you probably see it every day without thinking twice about it.

Your scuttle hole and/or attic door could be wasting your home’s energy.

If the attic access point is not optimized for energy efficiency, air will be leaking between your living area and your attic. Your conditioned air can escape through the attic access point, wasting energy and money on conditioning the lower levels of your home. It doesn’t matter what season it is either — whether you are trying to keep your home toasty in the winter of cool in the summer, your attic access point can contribute to energy loss.

The solution?

We recommend two things:

  1. Weatherstripping
  2. Attic access cover

Attic accesses often have gaps between the door and the ceiling/attic floor. When these gaps are present, weatherstripping is a simple do-it-yourself solution.

For homeowners looking to get the most out of their time and effort, installing an attic access cover could be the perfect remedy.

Attic access covers are a simple installation made for attic scuttle holes and latches. They insulate the attic access and prevent the air from escaping in the same way that weatherstripping does. Other benefits of attic access insulation covers include:

  • Prevents bugs from entering the living area
  • Saves money on monthly energy bills
  • The material is durable and built to last

Weatherstripping and attic access covers are both excellent options. However, for the strongest means of insulation and energy saving, attic access covers provide the best results.

2. Improve Your Attic’s Sealing

After you tackle your attic access, the next step to improving attic energy efficiency is to improve the attic itself.

The first part of that is sealing.

The main goal of improving sealing is to prevent air leakage from the attic.

As mentioned in part 1, air can leak out of gaps and cracks in the attic access. However, the concept of air leakage can be a problem elsewhere.

Polyurethane foam seals gaps in wooden frame construction conserving energy.

Air can leak in gaps in windows, walls, and the floor especially. Take a look around and examine if you have gaps around the following:

  • Wire holes
  • Can lights
  • Ducts or vents
  • Cracks in the floorboards
  • Spaces where walls/floors/ceilings meet

If you find spaces near these elements, materials such as sealant, caulk, and/or weatherstrips can often be good solutions. All three will help limit the amount of air leakage in the attic.

For those with duct-work in their attic, air sealing can be critical.

When your air is leaking from ducts, all of the air that would be funneled directly into your living room may not be leaking up from your attic access, but directly from the ducts themselves. Thanks to something know as the “stack effect” (rising heat in the house), air leakages from ducts happen constantly, even when your air is not running. The joints that hold the ducts together leak air, the space in between the ducts and walls leak air, and you end up paying for it (literally — in utility bills).

When it comes to sealing duct-work, a materials such as spray foam, duct mastic, or duct tape can be a homeowners best friend.

Homeowners should also consider the importance of insulating the ducts as well. This concept should actually be applied to the entirety of the attic.

3. Improve Your Attic Insulation

Thanks to infrared technology, we are able to further see where homes need insulation.

When our technicians go into homes, the attic is one of the usual suspects for under-insulation.

In the Delaware Valley, where recommended R-Value (resistance to heat) ranges from R38 to R60, having the right amount of insulation is a necessity if you want good whole-home health. R-Values vary by material, but to get a better sense of what kind of R-Values you may already have, check out this chart. For the most accurate measurements, it’s always best to have a healthy home professional inspect your attic and determine what R-Value will work best for your home.

So how do you insulate your attic?

First, consider R-Value.

Next, identify what kind of insulation and what amount of insulation you will need for optimal insulation.

Some of the most popular attic insulation materials include:

  • Fiberglass (comes as batt)
  • Cellulose (comes blown)
  • Mineral wool (comes batt or blown)

Your walls, joists, and attic floors may all need better insulation. You may be able to judge this with the naked eye, but we recommend having an expert take a look. Experienced technicians will be able to give you more insight into R-Values, identify every spot that needs insulation, and offer actionable advice on the best way to handle any under-insulation.

Bonus Tip: Use Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation.

Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation (MLI) is the hidden gem of insulation materials.

MLI reflects radiant heat from the sun that permeates through the roof to keep R-Value consistent, and the temperature in the living area contained.

While most MLI installations take place in the attic, we can apply our reflective insulation products anywhere in your home to better insulate your home. Attics, crawl spaces, garage doors, below your floors—we even have wraps for old hot water heaters. MLI can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency levels and enjoy increased savings and comfort.

4. Improve Your Attic Ventilation

Ventilation, often thought of as “airflow”, tends to be overlooked.

Unlike other parts of the country like the southern and western states where it is hot year-round and attics can reach deathly high temperatures, the northeast only experiences high-heat for about two months. Likewise, the importance of airflow in the attic can easily escape the minds of homeowners.

Plus, most people aren’t really hanging out in their attic. So why does your attic need ventilation?

The truth is, ventilation is needed during every month of the year.

If you don’t have a healthy stream of air in your attic in the summer, you could be looking at moisture damage and mold.

And if you don’t have that healthy airflow in the winter, you could be looking at different yet similar issues. The potential for mold growth will be there, and excess moisture could cause warped joists, unsafe ice damming on the roof, and rotting wood.

The solution?

We recommend using a solar attic fan in New Jersey.

Solar attic fans — as the name implies — run solely on the power of the sun. That means less electricity is needed and more energy efficiency is earned.

They regulate your attic by expelling hot air and circulating fresh outside air to maintain healthy, consistent air quality.

To learn more about the benefits of installing a solar attic fan, click here.

Take Action — Improve Your Attic

If you want to improve your attic, we recommend seeking out the advice of an expert. Our technicians offer free attic inspections and can give you personalized advice based on the condition of your house and the climates that your house will be going through. To get an expert’s perspective, contact us today for a free inspection.

Installing proper insulation in your attic prevents cold air from entering your home and keeps all the warm air inside it. This helps you save big on your energy bills. But there’s an element to attic insulation that many homeowners forget – the attic hatch.

Although you use it to enter your attic, the hatch is often an afterthought when compared to the rest of the attic. However, properly sealing and insulating this entryway is essential if you want to maximize your home energy efficiency.

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

In this article, we’ll be outlining why attic hatch insulation is so important, how you can properly insulate your attic, and what you’ll need to get it done. Let’s dive in.

Why should I insulate my attic hatch?

In previous articles, we highlighted how warm air often ends up in the attic and escapes outside during the winter. We also talked about how summer heat can radiate through your roof and collect in your attic, causing the entire house to become hotter.

Attic hatches are simply another component of this issue. While you can keep them clean and properly painted, they usually aren’t designed with energy efficiency in mind. It’ll still radiate heat in the summer and let warm air escape in the winter.

Properly insulating your attic hatch helps prevent this issue, and if you pair that with a properly sealed and insulated attic, you’ll be maximizing your home’s energy efficiency. Simply put, the more you insulate your attic, the more control you’ll have over your home temperatures, and the greater your energy savings will be.

Different ways to insulate your attic hatch

There are two ways homeowners can properly insulate their attic hatch. One is very similar to how you would insulate the rest of your attic – that is, applying insulation directly onto the hatch itself. The other method involves installing a cover over your hatch in the attic to prevent unwanted heat flow.

Fiberglass Insulation

How to Insulate an Attic Hatch - Fiberglass Insulation

If you’ve already insulated your attic, you’ll probably have some experience with this method. This process basically involves attaching fiberglass foam strips onto the wood stops that hold your hatch together. By stacking these foam strips on top of one another, you’ll effectively create a barrier within your hatch to prevent heat from passing through.

Attic Hatch Covers

How to Insulate an Attic Hatch - Attic Hatch Cover

Another decidedly simpler way to insulate your hatch is by installing an attic hatch cover. These covers are placed in the attic right over your hatch. It’s essentially an additional pathway into your attic. You simply unzip the cover to step into your attic. Installing covers is a lot simpler and requires far less equipment, but serves practically the same function as foam insulation.

What you’ll need for attic hatch insulation

If you’re installing an insulation cover, all you’ll pretty much need is the cover itself and some staplers to lock it in place.

Those opting for fiberglass insulation will need a few more materials, including the insulation itself, tape or glue, a ruler, weatherstripping, and something to cut your fiberglass with.

Depending on the state of your hatch, you might need new wood stops to create a barrier. Air sealing equipment, like caulk, is helpful here as well.

How to insulate an attic hatch

Fiberglass Insulation

The first step before applying any insulation is checking whether there’s any air leaks or molding in and around the hatch.

You can check for air leaks by lighting incense or holding thin paper by the hatch to see if there’s any air movement. You can caulk around the perimeter of the hatch if you find that it’s leaking air.

It’s at this point where you should properly measure your attic hatch. Every home has a different sized hatch, and if you don’t get the proper measurements this entire process will be moot.

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

Making sure there’s no mold is important for both preventing your insulation from damage and keeping your home safer overall. We recommend getting an inspector to check the mold. If there is any molding, you should add a few inches of wood stops so your new foam insulation can stick easier.

Add self-adhesive foam weatherstripping to the top edges of your new wood stops. Then cut a piece of fiberglass or foam board to your hatch door’s size and attach it to the hatch with tape or nails.

Finally, check whether your hatch is leaking air one more time to make sure it’s properly sealed and insulated.

Attic Hatch Covers

How to Insulate an Attic Hatch - Attic Hatch Cover

Installing insulation covers is a little bit simpler. Make sure you buy the proper sized cover for your hatch, and all you have to do is place it over the hatch entrance in the attic, add adhesive, and some staples to keep it secure.

Now you can simply unzip the cover and enter your attic with ease.

Finding the best solution for attic hatch insulation

Choosing which attic hatch insulation to install depends on both your experience with DIY projects and a few other factors.

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

Installing fiberglass insulation on top of your hatch is effective, but as we’ve described, it takes a little bit of elbow grease. If you’ve already installed fiberglass insulation all around your attic and have some of it leftover, and happen to have some caulk and weatherstripping available, you might opt for this method instead of buying a cover.

However, if you don’t want to purchase all the different equipment needed to add fiberglass insulation to your hatch, or you don’t feel comfortable being able to do it yourself, you can opt for other alternatives.

An insulation professional should be able to help you install fiberglass to your attic hatch, though you will have to consider the cost of labor, equipment, and other factors here. Alternatively, getting an insulation cover will likely save you money, and they’re much simpler to install. We recommend those without much DIY experience to invest in a cover rather than applying fiberglass insulation themselves.

Whichever option you choose, insulating your attic hatch is an effective way to keep your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer without bearing the brunt of high energy bills.

For more informative articles on attic insulation, check out our blog.

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we commemorate the recent 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we can look back as a society and witness some solid victories in our quest for greater energy efficiency.

According to the Energy Efficiency Impact Report, investments in energy efficiency have significantly reduced spending on energy expenses over the past few decades.

The report notes:
“Without the energy efficiency investments made since 1980, energy consumption and emissions would have been 60 percent higher, and consumers would be paying nearly $800 billion more per year in energy costs. Efficiency’s benefits go beyond energy and cost savings, including a cleaner environment and improved public health.”

Within the average home, steps to energy efficiency can take many forms – from baby steps like switching to energy-efficient lighting to bigger steps such as sealing and insulating your attic. Of course, the bigger the step, the larger the savings.

Over the past two months of our shared “stuck-at-home” experience, it’s never been easier to take a look around our homes to see what steps can be taken to keep our nation on track for even greater savings and efficiency.

Take the LED
One of the simplest steps on the savings path is the replacement of inefficient lighting. From floor lamps to track lighting, your house should shine using LED technology. A light-emitting diode uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light.

LEDs use heat sinks to absorb the heat produced by illumination. The heat sink dissipates the heat into the surrounding environment, keeping the light from overheating and burning out.
Energy Star-certified LED bulbs last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Brightness is measured in lumens (light output) rather than watts (energy consumed). LED bulbs tend to be 6-7 times more energy-efficient than older incandescent bulbs. Studies show they may cut energy use by more than 80 percent. Taking a walk through your house to identify and replace inefficient lighting can save money down the road. They will cost more upfront, but the savings are well worth it.

According to a 2017 analysis by the Consumer Federation of America:
“Assuming an average $55 difference between the ten-year costs of LED bulbs and incandescent/halogen bulbs, a family may well save more than $1,000 by using LEDs during a ten-year period.”

“By using LED light bulbs, consumers not only save money, they also curb electricity use, potentially reducing the need for expensive new power plants,” said Mel Hall-Crawford, CFA’s Director of Energy Programs. “LED bulbs are a win-win-win for consumers, electric utilities, and the environment,” she added.

Tanks for the Savings
A “slightly-larger-than-baby” step you can take is to review the state of your water heater.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy: “Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of your home’s energy use. Reducing your hot water use, employing energy-saving strategies, and choosing an energy-efficient water heater for your home pool can help you reduce your monthly water heating bills.”
How old is your heater? If your water heater is more than ten years old, you may risk leaks or flooding. By upgrading to an EnergyStar-certified water heater, a family of four could save an estimated $3,500 over the appliance’s lifetime by heating water with a highly efficient heat pump. Also, many homeowners are going tankless. A tankless water heater – which heats water only when needed – can save a family of four more than $1,500 over its lifetime.
If you’re not ready to replace the whole water heater, you can realize baby-step savings by turning your water heater down. Most water-heater manufacturers set thermostats at 140⁰F by default. However, most houses will do just fine with the thermostat set to 120⁰F. Caution: Always shut off the electricity to the water heater before opening the heater’s panels to adjust the thermostat.

Energy Savings Above Your Head
What’s going on above your ceiling? If you rarely enter your attic (maybe to see if your prom dress still fits or if those old comic books are worth anything), you may be hemorrhaging dollars and cents if your attic space is drafty or improperly sealed.
You will often find some of your home’s most significant air leaks in the attic. This means higher energy bills and an inefficient home overall with hotter summers and icier winters.
If you’re ready to take an even larger and more cost-effective step in creating a super-efficient attic, now is the time to contact Attics and More for a complimentary home energy analysis by our qualified attic professional. We will make sure the attic is getting proper ventilation with natural airflow that keeps the roof deck cool and dry. This has the added benefit of extending the life of shingles and stopping ice dams. Finally, we can insulate your attic’s entry hatch using our Attic Gator. The Department of Energy offers tips on detecting air leaks and assessing ventilation needs.
While we are auditing your attic for leaks and ventilation issues, now would be a perfect time also to analyze your insulation needs. And, many homes can benefit from solar-powered attic ventilation systems. Attics and More utilizes solar power fans that have a lifetime warranty, can withstand hurricane force winds of 150 mph, and will work nonstop from sun-up to sundown. The necessary three actions we always reiterate for the most energy-efficient home are to seal, insulate, and ventilate.
For more steps you can take towards a more energy-efficient home (from baby to big kid), check out this exhaustive guide by the U.S. Department of Energy. Whether you decide to change a few light bulbs or launch an attic-renovation project, as Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Now is the time to stop and see what Attics and More can do for you with our safe green products and our flexible financing.