When the outside air enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings it needs insulation. This reduces the heating / cooling cost which is necessary to build a healthier indoor environment. The air leakage can also cause air with dust and mould which is not hygienic.
Proper attic insulation helps you to reduce the energy bills. The attics can be easily insulated. Some older homes lack the proper insulation. First you can make a survey to decide how much insulation is needed for the present home. An energy audit can help you estimate the needed insulation. It is also necessary to decide the type of the insulation that should be installed. The crucial factor in this business is the R-value of the home which is an indicator of the efficiency to the thermal resistance.
To insulate an attic the best insulators are the loose-fill or batt insulation. The loose-fill is cheaper than the batt insulation. If the insulations are installed properly they can give a better coverage.
Some basic steps are need while insulating the attic. First of all seal all attic-to-home leaks because most of the insulators do not stop the flow of air. It is important to duct the exhaust fans to the outer side. A tight box is needed to cover the fan. You should seal the duct where it exits the box. The sides of the attic need either to be packed or closed with the drywall.
Be sure to seal the openings like soffit, dropped ceilings etc. Seal around the chimney and the framing using furnace cement or high temperature caulk. These caulking compounds are available in disposable cartridges and some pressurized cartridges even donít need the caulking gun.
At the top of the walls of attic you should use a long life caulk for sealing the small holes and gaps. The rigid foam board insulation or expanding foam can be used for this purpose. The available liquid foam insulations are of cementitious, phenolic, polysocyanurate, and polyurethane type. These foams flow over obstructions and then expand. There are liquid foam materials also which can be poured. Though they are costlier than the batt insulation they assure better performance. The installation of these liquid foams requires special equipments. It is better to call a certified insulation installer for the work.
Before installing the insulator in the ceiling check for water marks. The water marks are indicators of the roof leak. Wet insulation is not efficient and possibly can cause damage to your home. It is very important to insulate the access to attic especially if it is not conditioned. Take into consideration the R-value and climate before insulating the attic access. It is equally important to note the location of the attic access. If it is next to the unconditioned part of your house like the garage or porch then it can affect the insulation in a great way.
If you are living in warm or hot climate then it is worth considering installation of a radiant barrier along with insulation. It is helpful to reduce the amount of heat in summer and heat loss in winter.