How Important is Attic Insulation?
Your attic is one of the key places to add new insulation to your home - the importance of attic insulation is so great that simply adding or updating your insulation can help you save hundreds to thousands of dollars a year on your heating and cooling bills. We often explain the importance of attic insulation by using the analogy of a hat - in the summer or winter, you wear a hat to help protect the rest of your body from the elements. The head is the most important part of the body, and it plays a huge role in keeping the rest of the body comfortable year round.
The attic is like the head of your home - keeping your attic clean and your insulation up to date affects temperature, heating and cooling bills, drafts, sound, humidity and so much more. It’s easy to ignore the attic or push it to the bottom of the endless home to-do list, but a simple visual check once a season can go a long way in helping catch problems early. Because the importance of attic insulation to the rest of your home is so great, spotting dust and dirt buildup, holes and cracks, leaks, rodent or bug infestations, or mold growth before it gets out of hand is key to a healthy, safe home.
Important Signs Your Attic Insulation Needs Help
Knowing when it’s time to add or replace old insulation can manifest itself in your home in a number of different ways:
- Drafts, leaks, and holes: If you find you’re chillier than you should be in the evenings or you’re reaching for an extra pair of socks in the home office, this might indicate that you’ve got a problem upstairs. Holes and air leaks in the attic can allow outside air to circulate in the attic or conditioned air to escape into it. Repairing and closing these cracks and gaps can make a big difference in your whole home.
- Dirt and Dust: Storing unused things in your attic is one of the biggest ways to introduce dirt and dust into the environment. A dirty attic translates into a dirty home as things get moved to and fro and the hatch is opened and closed.
- Leaks and Mold: The most important reason to frequently check your attic is to make sure there is no moisture entering or accumulating. That moisture could easily be the trigger for a mold infestation, a problem that can then spread to other parts of your home and cause illness and property damage.
- Creepy Crawlies: The attic is generally a warm and dry place, making it particularly inviting for unwanted guests like raccoons, squirrels and insects. Their droppings, food waste, and urine not only make a mess but can also transmit infectious diseases and bacteria.
The Benefits of Going Pro
What do you do if you’ve taken a look and found something wrong in your attic? It’s important to remove any waste or damaged materials and fix the source of the problem immediately, which will help prevent further damage to your home. At EcoStar Insulation, we always recommend hiring a professional to do this task. Not only will our highly trained technicians ensure your attic is thoroughly cleaned and inspected, but they’ll also work towards solving the root cause of the problem, and will make suggestions based on their years of experience working in attics.
Sometimes we’re called in to fix an eager DIYer’s attempt to solve a problem - quite often we find that they’ve inadvertently spread mold throughout their home or missed the true root of the water leak or reinstalled something incorrectly. The importance of attic insulation means that doing it right the first time ensures that time, money, and materials are not wasted or damaged further.
Types of Insulation
When choosing insulation, there’s an overwhelming amount of options on the market and it’s hard to know what might be right for you and your home. This is the other benefit of working with a professional - we’re able to guide you to choose an insulation product that will not only work efficiently in your home, but will fit your budget and other needs as well.
Spray Foam: One of the most popular products currently on the market, spray foam is a direct application liquid that expands and hardens into a dense, high R-Value insulation. The benefits of spray foam are many - for example, it acts as an air and vapour barrier at the same time, eliminating the need to install separate barrier systems.
Blown-In Insulation: One of the fastest and easiest methods of insulation installation, blown in insulation products are a great option for installing insulation in hard to reach places, or to top up existing products.
Injection: When it comes to insulating exterior walls, injection of spray foam products is one of the most effective ways to retrofit your home, sealing and insulating cavities without the need for demolition or reconstruction.
Fibreglass: Having been around for decades, fibreglass is a well-known and used material to insulate the attic. Fibreglass comes in batt style slabs and is also available as a blown-in product.
Installing Insulation Correctly
Because of the importance of attic insulation, making sure it’s installed correctly has a huge effect on the rest of your home. If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ll know that we’ve been covering the building science approach to home building and how it relates to insulation and different control layers.
Your home can be compared to an ecosystem - each part works together to create a cohesive whole. When one part of that ecosystem - such as your insulation - isn’t working right, it can have a cascading effect throughout the rest of your building. The first important part of a correctly functioning home is the building envelope, which consists of the walls, floors and roof. These parts keep the bulk of the weather off and act as a solid barrier between the indoors and out.
As part of the building envelope we find control layers, such as the vapour, air, and thermal control layers. These parts help control different aspects of the weather and natural world - the vapour barrier, for example, helps to stop or slow the spread of moisture in any form from permeating the building envelope and causing damage inside your home.
The thermal control layer helps to prevent temperature movement and heat flow in your home, and insulation plays a huge role in this. As we’ve already mentioned, the attic is a key player in your home’s heating and cooling system, and having an adequate thermal control layer in the attic of your home is one way to help regulate interior temperature.
Affordability and Rebates
The good news is that insulation doesn’t need to be a retrofit that costs you tens of thousands of dollars. EcoStar Insulation provides a number of different options to suit any budget or building project, and we can also recommend any local rebates or financing options available in your area. It’s not just insulation installation companies that are touting the importance of attic insulation - governments across the country have realized that the energy savings homeowners can gain from installing new insulation translates directly into savings for all of us by lessening the load on the grid and by needing to generate less power - which in turn helps the environment and slows down climate change.
Depending on where you are, there are a number of programs available to help you get new insulation for your home:
Union Gas Home Reno Rebate: If you’re a customer of Union Gas, you may be eligible for a rebate of up to $1750 for installing new insulation. You must own your own home that is heated by natural gas, oil, electricity or wood and be located in a Union Gas program area (see their website for more conditions).
Enbridge Home Energy Conservation Program: This program offers specific rebates for adding insulation to different parts of the home, like the basement (up to $1250), exterior walls (up to $1750), and attic (up to $500), as well as specific rebates for air sealing, windows, and water heaters, among other things.
Home Energy Loan Program: HELP is a fantastic program in Toronto that offers low interest loans to homeowners interested in improving their energy efficiency. HELP’s research indicates that by improving your home’s energy efficiency, you can use up to 25% less energy a year and save around $800 on your annual bills; up to $2750 in incentives are available through this program.
Improve Your Insulation Today for a More Comfortable Tomorrow
Making major home improvements can be a daunting task for a homeowner - but at EcoStar Insulation, it’s our job to help walk you through the project and making a manageable task. The importance of attic insulation only increases as climate change brings more severe weather patterns and weather events, and, as with most things in life, prevention is the best way to stay ahead of the curve. If you’re considering installing new insulation or want to speak to someone about how you can make your home more efficient, get in touch! One of our technicians would be happy to tell you more about the importance of attic insulation and about what our products and services can do for you.