Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Climate and Your Attic

When I joined the masses for Blog Action Day this year, I was intimidated by the breadth of the topic: Climate. I didn't even know where to start, so I made a list (as I am know to do) starting with the top...of the house that is.

Did you know that by insulating uninsulated areas or adding insulation to insulated areas can greatly decrease the amount of energy you use in your home? As we move in to the colder months of the year, we become more conscience of how much it takes to heat our home and how much we spend on our heating bill (gas or electric). Heat naturally flows from hot to cold areas in your home just like the cold air from your air conditioning flows from cold to hot areas. It is always seeking a sense of equilibrium. Insulation provides resistance to this air flow, indicated by its R-value, so not only will insulation keep you warmer in the winter, it will keep you cooler in the summer.

Foam insulation in the wall frame and batting insulation in the ceiling.

A few weekends ago, when my mom was in town, we swung into Home Depot to pick up a few things for a project that, in fact, I'm going to tackle this coming weekend (stay tuned for pics!). As we walked in we saw this giant plexi-glass box with grey blow-in insulation and were approached by a friendly associate. He brought to my attention the possibility of adding insulation to my home, thereby saving money on utilities as well as earning a tax credit for increasing a home's energy efficiency. I shrugged him off, with the excuse that my home is only a few years old and I probably don't need to add any more insulation. He, being the salesman that he is, warned me that even though our home is new, it might not be as efficient as it could be.

The display that he stood by showed the ideal amount of insulation a home should have in its attic for our climate region, R-value of 60, but he said most new homes (mine in particular because he knew my builder) are only insulated with an R-value of 19 unless it had been specially requested during construction. He offered his services to come out and measure our insulation and once again, I shrugged off his offer. However, now that it is a balmy 64 degrees in my home (with the heat on) a little voice in my head is saying, "call the man, at least he could come and check it out, free of charge."

Insulation being blown into an attic.

You can find out the recommend R-value of insulation in your climate region by filling out the form on the Department of Energy's Insulation Fact Sheet website (my location recommend an R-value of 38). You can also use this handy-dandy tool on Home Depot's website to estimate the cost of adding insulation to your home.

So, what does this all have to do with the climate (other than the one in my home)? Well, by saving money on your heating bill, in actuality, you are using less natural gas or electricity. This benefits our lovely mother earth by using less natural resources and emitting less harm into the atmosphere. Imagine if by decreasing your energy consumption, you can save money and the earth in one swoop, talk about efficient!

Disclaimer: I am not a builder nor an expert on insulation. While I found this information thru researching and speaking with a contractor, I do not guarantee it is 100 percent accurate. I recommend contacting a certified contractor for specific information regarding construction or home projects.

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