How to Make Sure Your Home Has the Best Winter Insulation

While the goal of insulation in summer is to keep heat out of the house, winter insulation in the attic functions to hold heat indoors. Ground zero for both heat gain and heat loss in a home is the attic. In winter, heat produced by your furnace naturally rises, infiltrating through the ceiling into the attic and eventually escaping through the roof. The potential amount of heat loss through the attic is estimated to be at least 25%.

How Much Is Needed?

The performance of winter insulation types is expressed by the R-rating per inch of depth. The higher the R-rating, the more effectively the material resists the flow of heat. Per the Department of Energy’s guidance on insulation zones, a residential attic here in Terre Haute should be insulated to a level of R38 up to R60.

What Kind Is Best?

  • Fiberglass batts are the least-expensive option and provide an R-rating of 2.9 up to 3.4 per inch. These rollout lengths are precut to fit the standard width between attic joists, and they are easily installed. However, fiberglass batts may not adequately cover nonstandard or odd-sized spaces, which will require special cutting to fit.
  • Cellulose loose-fill is composed of small fragments of recycled paper material treated with fire retardant. Blown in through hoses under air pressure, cellulose provides superior coverage in an attic, readily filling all spaces, no matter the shape or size. Cellulose also offers good R-rating as high as 4.0 per inch and is a highly effective noise barrier too. Additional amounts can be readily added to improve heat resistance if desired.
  • Spray polyurethane foam is applied in a liquid state and dries to a very solid, permanent substance. It provides the highest R-factor per inch with a rating of 7. Spray polyurethane, however, is the most expensive option, and application requires specialized equipment and experienced personnel. Another factor to consider: Polyurethane applied to the structure is not readily removable in the event you need to remove this type of winter insulation in the future.

Will your winter insulation keep you warm this year? Ask Paitson Bros., as we’ve been helping Terre Haute residents stay comfortable in all seasons since 1922.

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