The early fall months are the best time to add insulation to your attic if you have been considering doing so. This work is more difficult to do when it's cold outside, and higher demand means that you will pay a premium if you decide to hire a professional to do the job for you. If your attic lacks proper insulation – as is the case in many U.S. homes – here are six great reasons to add more this season.
The most obvious reason for adding insulation is comfort. A home that is under-insulated – even one with a modern heating and cooling system – is more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations. This means that the home can become hot or cold more quickly when the temperature changes outside, and that rooms on upper floors may differ in temperature significantly from those on lower floors. According to Henges Insulation & Fireplace, a difference of 10 to 15 degrees between floors in your home is a sure sign that your home has too little insulation.
Most bedrooms in U.S. homes are located on upper floors, so adding insulation is a great way to ensure comfort at night and in the early morning, when temperatures are at their lowest. Modern thermostats are frequently programmed to turn down heating elements at night, and this means that you will be relying primarily on the home's insulation to keep upper floors comfortable until morning.
2. Energy bills
Homeowners who are interested in ways to save energy often add insulation as an investment in lower future energy bills. Heating and cooling a home are generally the largest utility bills paid by homeowners, meaning that any way to lower them is worth doing. Adding insulation is a great way to accomplish this goal in a cost effective manner.
In many cases, even paying a professional contractor to add insulation to your attic will pay for itself within just a few years. Every home is different, but you can calculate your payback time using this fairly straightforward formula from Energy.gov. In the example they give, the payback time is just over five years.
3. Sound insulation
An added benefit of adding insulation to your home is the noise-dampening effect that it has. If you have small children, dogs that bark or like to play loud music, adding insulation is a great way to enjoy your lifestyle without having to worry about bothering the neighbors. Conversely, if you have neighbors that are keeping you up at night, a little bit of extra insulation may help to quiet the din and let you finally get a full night of sleep.
Even if you don't care particularly about your energy bills or you don't plan to be in your home for long enough to see savings as a result of adding insulation, you may wish to do the project anyway in order to shrink your carbon footprint. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a skilled contractor or knowledgeable homeowner can reduce a house's use of energy for heating and cooling by up to 20 percent. The corresponding reduction in carbon released into the atmosphere as a result is significant.
5. No frozen pipes
In a properly insulated home with the heater set on at least a livable minimum – about 50 degrees Fahrenheit – pipes should not freeze. Many U.S. homes have a problem with pipes that freeze and burst during the coldest nights of winter, and this can result in water damage and expensive repair bills. The problem is that water expands when it freezes. If this happens to water in a pipe, the water may have nowhere to go and will burst out of the pipe completely, allowing any water that isn't frozen to flow freely.
By properly insulating your home, you can completely avoid or significantly reduce the probability that your pipes will freeze. This means no more water wasted because you have to leave the tap on every night, no more worrying and no more emergency calls to your contractor in the dead of winter.
6. Safer home structure
A final benefit of insulation is that it acts as a vapor retardant. In moist climates, water vapor can slowly seep into the structure of a home, eroding wood, cement and almost anything else over time. Insulation can help to keep that moisture out of these delicate parts of your home, preserving your investment.
Adding insulation to a home isn't easy, but it is straightforward enough that many homeowners choose to tackle the job themselves. When you're done dealing with this project, consider how another investment might benefit you as a homeowner: a TotalProtect® Home Warranty. A home warranty protects you from the unexpected costs that can arise in the event that a large appliance or home system breaks or malfunctions.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.