Energy Savings #1

Energy Savings Part #1: Attic Insulation Maintenance by Tim Barnett

Whenever we think about saving energy, a natural and logical place to start is with heating and cooling since a large portion of our energy bill is due to keeping our homes cool in summer and warm in winter. However, when considering reducing our heating and cooling, most do not consider a free Do-It-Yourself project that can be done on a cool fall evening. All that is needed is a flashlight, a small tape measure and a dust mask. With these tools in hand, you are ready to go exploring…in your attic. SAFETY WARNING: if your attic isn’t floored and you are not sure of your footing, hire someone to check your attic. Walking on the ceiling joists is tricky and you don’t want to harm yourself or put a foot through your ceiling. Now, go into your attic space and look around. You’re making sure that the insulation is properly installed. Over time insulation can become pulled up, mashed down, pushed aside or missing due to human or rodent activity. Insulation gaps create drafts and allow the “bought” air to flow freely to the outside. The two most common types of insulation are rolled batts and loose fill. The pink or yellow variety is most likely fiberglass and you will want to handle with gloves. Batts look like solid rectangles between the joists. The loose fill will be just that, loose fibers blown or spread around the area.

The goal for both types is to keep insulation level and consistent across the attic. For loose fill, you may use a rake to spread it out, making sure to get into the gaps and corners. SAFETY TIP: be careful of wiring that resides under the insulation and runs between the joists. Use a light touch when moving the insulation. For batting, make sure that no boxes or items are compressing the insulation. If any batts are compressed, gently lift and fluff them once you remove the items. Also look for any gaps between the batts and the joists. You may need more insulation to fill in gaps.

After a final look around, shine you flashlight at the ceiling to check for dark, blackened areas as these may indicate excessive moisture or possible leaks. If you find any problem areas, have them checked by a professional before they become an expensive issue. Having a healthy home is like being a healthy person: it takes maintenance!


Tim Barnett is Certified Professional Inspector with over 25 years of remodeling and construction experience. Certified by the American Home Inspectors Training Institute and a member of the InterNational Association of Certified Home Inspectors.


Acclaim Home Inspections, LLC

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