Insulation Provides Low Cost Efficiency

Any expert knows, insulation gives your home the biggest efficiency bang for the buck.

Blown in Fiberglass insulation installed with ventilation baffles

Over the past few years, insulation standards have changed. In the northern zone, Energy Star now recommends that you have a full R-60 of insulation in your attic. The proper amount of insulation can not only save you money on your energy bill, it can also reduce problems associated with condensation.

What is an R-Value?
The big “R” in R-value stands for RESISTANCE to temperature changes. Generally speaking, the higher the R-value, the more efficient the insulation.

How much should I have?
That question is one that many self-avowed “experts” disagree on but generally speaking, the more the better.

Will it help reduce condensation in my attic?
It depends on ventilation but if your attic is properly ventilated, insulation will help. Condensation happens when cold air comes in contact with a warm surface (and vice versa). Insulation can act as a thermal break to reduce the differences in temperature. For instance, your ceiling is likely simply made out of drywall board. Above that is your attic space, which, if properly ventilated is cold. Once you heat your home, that drywall board gets warm. When it comes in contact with cold air, you are likely to have condensation.

How can insulation help?
Insulation bridges that gap between very cold and very warm. By laying on the top of the ceiling drywall, the part that is touching the drywall will remain warmer than the part that is exposed to the attic. When you eliminate areas where very warm comes in contact with very cold, you reduce any chance of condensation buildup.

Is more better?
Well there is a point of diminishing, but according to Energy Star, homes in the northern climate (this includes Wisconsin) should have an R-value of 60 in your attic.

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Jim McGuigan is a self avowed Energy Efficiency geek living in Brown Deer, WI. His company, Energy Masters, installs insulation, soffit and fascia, and roofing— all products where ventilation and efficiency are key to a healthy home. He can be reached at 414-350-8998.

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