When to Remove Attic Insulation
The next time you sit comfortably on the living couch, consider all the effort that goes into making your home cool and cozy. Of course, we all know how much our comfort depends on a working heating and cooling system. But your family also relies on a protective shield that lies just above the ceiling: attic insulation.
It’s not something we think about everyday, but your attic insulation installation protects you from the heat that naturally builds up during daylight hours. As long as it remains thick and clean, you don’t have to worry about it. But how do we know when to replace insulation? Today, we’ll look into this crucial home element, how it works, and planning its replacement. You should have a deeper respect for your insulation afterwards! Let’s dive in.
How Attic Insulation Works
Throughout the day, sunlight warms the surface of the rooftop. Through a process known as conduction, that surface heat travels down to the underside of the roof, where it radiates into the attic. This heat gradually accumulates until the attic is swollen with heat. Two factors determine whether or not that heat then sinks down and spoils your cozy, conditioned air: ventilation and attic insulation.
While ventilation allows hot air to upwards through the rooftop, your attic insulation installation prevents heat from traveling through the floor joists and the ceiling drywall.
Does Attic Insulation Help With Cooling?
Yes! Insulation helps prevent the two processes that permit the transfer of heat. There’s conduction, which we mentioned earlier. There’s also radiation, where heat radiates outward from a given surface. Most forms of insulation deal with the first type. Radiant barriers target the latter form, but we’ll discuss that later.
In other words, insulation stops heat from sinking down into your living areas and tarnishing your conditioned air. That means shorter run times for your AC unit and subsequently lower electricity consumption. Will attic insulation make a difference? Absolutely! If you’ve been struggling with unusually high energy costs on your utility bill, better insulation could be a very cost-effective solution.
How Long Does Insulation Last in the Attic?
Many professionals suggest that insulation should last 80 years or more, given ideal conditions. The problem with that figure is that many forms of insulation naturally degrade over time and gradually lose functionality. Blown-in systems get compressed, while matts start to pick up moisture and develop mold.
The odds of your insulation lasting for the full 80 years are slim. Which is why 20 to 30 year estimates often make more sense for homeowners.
Is Attic Insulation Worth It?
So if your attic insulation installation is going to break down eventually anyway, is it really worthwhile in the first place? Definitely yes! Insulation not only protects your home from enormous would-be energy waste, it also prevents some pests from coming in through the ceiling. With the right insulation type, you could enjoy hundreds of dollars in savings every year.
Replacing That Old Insulation
So how do homeowners know when to replace their aging insulation? There are a number of signs to let you know it’s time. These include:
- Pest damage
- Low insulation levels (for blown-in)
- Mold growth
- Clear coverage gaps
Mold growth is a particularly strong sign it’s time for immediate attic insulation removal. The longer spores continue to reproduce in the attic, the more likely the growth will spread to other parts of your home.
How Much Attic Insulation Do I Need?
Blown-in and matt insulation should come up just above the joists in the floor. For types with higher R-values (such as polyurethane spray foam), you can sometimes get away with thinner layers. Consult with an expert to see how thick your particular type of insulation needs to be.
Types of Attic Insulation
There are many kinds of attic insulation besides your average fiberglass matts and shredded newspapers (cellulose).
Types of Insulation for Your Attic
- Blanket Insulation
- Blown-in & loose-fill
- Foam Board
- Spray Foam
- Radiant Barriers
The last two options are often utilized on the roof underside. Spray foam absorbs much of the heat conducted from the rooftop. Radiant barriers go the extra mile by reflecting heat out of the attic. This actually lowers the resting temperature of the protected areas by as much as 30 degrees, leading to some impressive energy savings.
Can Attic Insulation Get Mold?
Can attic insulation get wet? If the answer is yes, then there’s also a decent chance of mold development. Fiber matts and cellulose are particularly susceptible to mold growth following a roof leak, though spray foam and radiant barriers are often designed to resist it. If your attic insulation installation gets wet (no matter the type), be sure to dry out the area with fans as quickly as possible!
Schedule Your Insulation Replacement!
Is it time to remove that old, underperforming attic insulation? Our team at ACT Home Energy Specialists would love to help you! Learn about all our local services, including attic insulation installation in Fort Worth, TX, by calling our friendly staff at 817-781-8781.