The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts our part of Arkansas in Zone Four on its insulation map. You probably did not realize insulation maps even exist and you are now wondering if your Decatur-area home’s insulation is up to the task. You can follow specific steps to tell if you need to add insulation.
That “zone four” designation means your attic insulation should be between R38 and R60. If you already have attic insulation, you can add some, but adding too much is not cost effective. When you are in the attic, observe the horizontal wood members that are part of your house structure, the joists.
- If you see insulation between joists and can see the top of joists, you need more —adding three to four inches of R38 will save you energy and money during heating season
- If you cannot see the top of joists, you have enough insulation—more would not be a good return on your investment
Add it Yourself?
Before you add attic insulation, make sure the attic is sealed against air leaks through ceilings and around the attic access. Trying to hunt them down after extra insulation is in place is very challenging. To add insulation yourself:
- Measure the square footage of your attic–a rough estimate is fine
- Purchase unfaced (no paper backing) fiberglass batts in rolls or pieces
- Lay the insulation at right angles to the joists, beginning at the rafter ends
- Be careful not to block the rafter ends to allow proper air circulation
- Work your way back toward your attic access—stepping on insulation compacts it, reducing its effectiveness
Hire a Professional
If you do not feel up to the task, hire a professional. The contractor, properly suited up for safety and owning the right equipment, can blow in cellulose or lay down fiberglass batts. Other insulation options: rigid foam boards (especially useful for insulating ductwork) or spray expanding foam (very useful for irregular surfaces and nooks and crannies).
To learn more reasons to add insulation to your Decatur-area home, contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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