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.
We recommend two things:
- 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.
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.
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.