Midwest winters mean cold, cold temperatures (especially this winter!), which means you want to be sure your home is warm and comfortable. The easiest way to keep warm without an insanely high heating bill is to properly insulate your attic. By doing so you can reduce heating bills by an estimated 10 to even 50 percent.
Here is how you should prepare for attic insulation:
First, you should check out the attic to see what kind of insulation you already have, and how much of it. Any material that is stained, moldy or looking worse for the wear should be removed and disposed of. Next, measure your attic’s square footage to determine how much insulation you will need – always buy an extra bag just in case you underestimated a bit.
Before beginning, you should seal any air leaks in the attic where hot or cold air can escape. When air leaks are present, insulation is pointless. Common areas where leaks are found are around any windows; around pipes, wires, exhaust fans and ducts or chimneys and flues. Different types of sealants, such as caulk, cement or foam spray, work for different types of leaks, so be sure to read the labels.
Your roof should also be in proper condition as it will increase the effectiveness of the insulation and make it last longer. Leaks in the roof mean wet insulation, creating mold and a big mess you don’t want to deal with. Call for a professional repair for any issues you may find on the roof.
If you choose to install the insulation yourself, follow proper safety practices to avoid injury. Goggles should be worn at all times, along with a dust mask, gloves and clothing that covers all skin (long sleeved shirt and long pants). Keep the area well-lit while you are working to avoid stepping on joists. As funny as it is when Clark Griswold falls through the attic ceiling in Christmas Vacation, it will not be funny if you fall through to the ground below. Use wide boards to stand on to keep yourself stable. When you are finished, shower to remove the fibers from your skin, and wash the clothes you wore during the process.
If you want to use the attic for living space, it requires a whole different method. The best thing to do in this situation is to hire a professional to install spray foam insulation underneath drywall.
Stay comfortable this winter and lower your bills with proper insulation. If you are uncomfortable doing the work yourself, it is always better to hire a professional than to risk doing it yourself.
Courtesy of This Old House