When you think of the rooms of your house you spend the most time in, odds are that your attic isn’t at the top of that list. Attics are often a very overlooked part of the home and unless you’ve converted your attic into a living area, you probably only go into to your attic if you need a place to store something or if you need to check for signs of roof damage. But if you’re trying to make your home more energy efficient, your attic is one of the most important places to check.
Attics are often full of opportunities to boost your home’s energy efficiency. It’s believed that as much 85% of a home’s heat is lost through the attic, so your attic should be at the top of your list of places to look when you’re trying to make your home more comfortable and lower your energy bills. So, what sorts of things should you do to improve your attic?
Check for Drafts
Just like how you routinely check your doors and vinyl replacement windows for drafts, you’ll want to check your attic for drafts, too. Drafts most commonly occur in places where openings have been cut to create space for something else, like pipes, air ducts, or electrical wiring. If you find any drafts, seal them up ASAP. Caulk works well for sealing smaller gaps while a low-expansion foam tends to work well for larger openings. If you’ve found a draft around your chimney, use a piece of aluminum flashing and a silicone caulk designed to withstand high temperatures to fix it.
The vast majority of American homes do not meet the current minimum standards for insulation. In many cases, homes were built to meet or exceed the standards for wall insulation at the time the house was built, but attics didn’t receive as much attention. Adequate attic insulation will do a lot to help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, so adding attic insulation is an excellent investment in your home. If you look in your attic and are able to see your floor joists, you could benefit from more insulation.
In addition to helping lower your energy bills, adding insulation can help your roof last longer. Ice dams commonly form on roofs when the attic gets warm enough to cause snow and ice on the roof to melt, but the temperature outside is cold enough for the water to refreeze. Ice dams can be very damaging to roofs, so anything that will help prevent that is beneficial.
Don’t Forget Weatherstripping
If you’ve been replacing the weatherstripping on your windows and doors, don’t forget to use some on the entrance to your attic. This will help keep the heat from your furnace from leaving the main part of your house so it will stay where it will do the most good.