Last week we got a lot of snow; ok it was a lot snow for Nashville, TN! I have been waiting for a good snow to talk about attic/roof insulation. The snow stuck around long enough for me to take photos. When there is a good snow, your rooftop will show if your insulation is working properly.
This is simple slide show I created demonstrates what to look for on your roof in the next big snow. If I show your roof, let me go ahead and apologize….I tried to cut the bottom of the house off to protect the “innocent”.
CLICK this link to view the photos and notes…
The most expensive way also happens to be the best way. That would be to spray foam on the roof deck of your home. This insulation method will maintain a reasonable temperature in the attic. The Icynene Insulation System (open cell) provides excellent results and can pay for itself in 3 to 5 years, depending on your energy bills. With cooling and heating bills, it is pay now or pay later, year after year. Therefore, if that is not in your budget, then installing an minimum R-38 batt or lose insulation in your un-used raw attic will be an energy efficient alternative.
I recommend asking the insulation company to install “attic rulers” when blown-in lose insulation is used. The attic rulers will give you a visual reference point to monitor the amount you requested and received.
This is from the NAIMA web site about attic rulers…..“When blown insulation is used, NAIMA recommends that attic rulers should be installed, one for every 300 square feet of attic area. The installed thickness of blown insulation should not be less than the minimum settled thickness on the attic card. The Federal Trade Commission does not require attic cards, but it is typical practice and helpful to the current and future homeowner. Consult CABO/MEC Guidelines on attic cards & rulers.”
I have given you some web sites below that provide more information about insulation and knee walls. You may need a home energy audit, which tells you exactly where your home is leaking. In Nashville, Jeff Middlebrooks of Nashville Home Energy conducts quality home energy audits.
My thoughts on window replacement: I consult regularly with homeowners about many issues, and replacing their old windows always comes up. There are so many other areas of your home that need attention and will give you significant cost savings. Some of these areas include attic and knee wall insulation, air leakage between the floor and crawl space, rim board insulation, air leakage at exterior wall penetrations, leaking ductwork, etc. Replacing windows is really far down on the list. It is expensive with very little return on investment compared to having insulation installed and stopping the air leaks.