We have had a string of very cold days since the beginning of December here in Michigan. Of course, it comes with some very nice things – like frozen lakes and winter sports, of which we have plenty.
However, it also can be a challenge to stay warm in such relentlessly cold temperatures. The inside of your house may not be retaining as much heat as it could, depending on what’s going on with your attic and your insulation.
Why You Should Insulate Your Attic
Heat Retention – this is how your home stays warm and your energy bill stays low. It’s not always about the power of your furnace as much as it is the ability of your attic insulation to hold in the heat that is generated.
Whether you have radiant heat, forced air or are relying on some other method, insulation is key.
Cold Barrier – Having a non-drafty barrier to cold air coming in is another piece of the puzzle. Make sure you’ve checked your windows and doors too!
The insulation you choose for your home should be creating a barrier on both sides – keeping heat in and cold out.
Make Sure Your Home is “Energy Efficient”
The best, easiest and most cost-effective ways of keeping your energy bills down is by doing making sure you have adequate insulation in your attic, as well as energy robbing gaps in your door seals, outlets, windows, etcetera properly sealed.
Have an energy audit performed to identify the thermal efficiency of your home. This will identify “weak” areas and give you a list of action items from your furnace to insulation. This should include a blower door test.
Cold Versus Warm Attic
If you live in Michigan, you very likely have a cold attic space. The main insulation is found above the ceiling at the rafters to keep the warm air from rising into your attic.
There are different types of insulation. Generally, bat insulation or blown-in fiberglass or cellulose are the most common for a cold attic. This keeps it cold, thus the name “cold” space.
It also helps keep warm air from rising to the underside of your roof and melting the snow, creating those dangerous ice dams as well as frost in your attic.
You may have heard of a “warm deck assembly”, or, as some would call, a “warm attic”?
They are a valid construction method and can be a good option for maintaining good attic/roof deck health when used properly under the correct circumstance. This is usually when standard methods of venting and insulation are not practical due to design and construction methods but can also be used in conjunction with standard insulation and venting methods if deemed advantageous.
A warm deck assembly is essentially spray foam insulation applied directly to the rafters and underside of the roof decking with a vented sheathing assembly over that to apply underlayment and shingles. This provides insulation properties as well as allows for venting of the shingle system.
If you decide to finish your attic for some additional living or finished storage you will need to closely examine both insulation and venting in order to avoid costly problems as well as keep the space comfortable. You will most likely want to consider a hybrid of both systems.
You are likely living with the ramifications of good or bad insulation in your home right now. If it’s bad, it’s one of the best and most cost-effective ways to upgrade your home in the coming year.
Give us a call and we’d be happy to help!