How To Improve Attic Insulation
Your attic has insulation, but the questions you should be asking are whether there are gaps in the insulation and whether it has enough insulation. An attic is the leading source of heat loss in most homes. Because heat rises, it goes up and out of your home. Reducing energy bills and making your home more comfortable are direct benefits of properly insulating your attic.
While your attic insulation may need a substantial amount of improvement, we aren't only talking about big projects that might require a pro. There are plenty of DIY improvements that you can make yourself that are fast, easy and inexpensive.
Whether your attic has blow-in insulation, batts or rolls, problems can crop up. First of all, insulation works by trapping air in little air-pockets. If insulation is crushed, it has fewer air-pockets and substantially less insulating value. If you are storing things in your attic, don't set them directly on the insulation. Place boards or plywood onto the joists to support boxes, wires, equipment and so on above the insulation.
Inspect your attic for voids and gaps. If insulation is not snugly installed next to the joists and framing, air gaps will allow warm air to flow out from your home. Do not install insulation against any device that generates heat or may become hot, unless it is rated for insulation contact. An example of this are recessed can lights installed in a ceiling. Unless they are "IC rated" for insulation contact, insulation should be kept at least 3 inches from the fixture.
Use loose, blow-in insulation and place it by hand to fill voids and gaps or anywhere insulation has been compressed. Wear gloves, long sleeves and a breath mask when working with insulation.
Do you have a ceiling hatch leading to your attic? Is it insulated? If you have a piece of plywood ceiling the hatch, try cutting a chunk of insulation to the same size and gluing it to the panel. that way it will always be in place when you seal the hatch. If you have stairs or a different style of opening, you might try setting a piece of plywood on top of the joists on either side of the opening and setting a large piece of insulation on top of the plywood. You will have to move it out of the way each time you access the attic, but it will plug a huge hole in your attic insulation.
If your attic doesn't have enough insulation, you can lay new unfaced batts or rolls at right angles over the joists. Place the insulation together tightly to create an effective barrier. (Note: If your existing insulation has exposed facing material, i.e. paper-side up, then you should not place insulation on top the old insulation or you risk trapping moisture.)
Theses tips will help improve your attic's insulation and improve your home's comfort. If your home insulation is seriously deficient you should consider renting a blower and adding blow-in insulation or bringing in a pro to handle the job. Insulation is cheap and a pro can complete the work quickly, keeping costs low.