The attic is a major player in your home's energy efficiency. A few basic steps can help you keep your costs down.
- Upgrading your attic insulation from three inches to 12 inches can cut heating costs by 20 percent, and cooling costs by 10 percent.
- Ventilate the attic space. Homes built long ago may have little ventilation or original vents may have been blocked by later construction. Vents are needed to promote good circulation for proper ventilation.
- If you're having a new roof installed, consider adding a ridge vent.
- Insulate the attic space. Insulation can be added as loose fill or from rolls. High efficiency building code standards show "R" value recommendations of R-30 in ceilings, R-16 in walls and R-19 over crawl spaces. The "R" value is a measure of how well insulation traps heat.
- Check the fit of your attic access door or pull-down stairs. Weather-strip and insulate the door where needed.
- Improving attic insulation can save 10 percent to 50 percent of your heating and cooling costs. Add insulation whenever possible, perhaps just a little bit at a time. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) found in some foam insulation can harm the ozone layer. Look for CFC-free insulation products.
- Make sure that the attic vents are not blocked by insulation. You also should seal any electrical boxes in the ceiling with flexible caulk (from the living room side or attic side) and cover the entire attic floor with at least the recommended amount of insulation.
- Seal your attic bypasses (hidden air passageways leading to the attic), especially if your house is prone to icicles or ice dams in the winter. Properly sealing the bypasses will eliminate hot spots on your roof that lead to ice dams and will reduce your energy bill.