When it comes to maintaining an optimal indoor air temperature, attics are more important than many people realize. That’s because, from a design and practicality standpoint, they serve as a protective barrier between the inside of your home and the elements outside.
An attic with proper insulation and air sealing will keep warm or cold air inside while repelling moisture and humidity. However, if the insulation isn’t properly installed, you could experience a lot more trouble than you bargained for.
To help give you a better idea of the risks involved, here are some of the benefits of attic insulation, along with some common problems that can occur if you leave your attic uninsulated.
The Benefits of Insulation
The United States Department of Energy estimates that around 50-70% of the energy used in the average American home is attributable to factors related to heating and cooling.
Couple that with a 2015 study from the North American Insulation Manufacturer’s Association that concluded that as much as 90% of homes across the US are under-insulated and it’s easy to see that many people are wasting time and money.
Some Common Risks of Under-Insulation
Unfortunately, under-insulating your home, or having no insulation at all, can prove to be an expensive mistake — not to mention an uncomfortable one. Here are just a few of the complications you could find yourself up against.
Most people know that heat dissipates from warmer spaces to cooler ones. This is why homes lacking proper insulation will see heat flow directly to the attic, basement, and other inherently cold spaces.
If your attic is uninsulated, the upper levels of your home will get colder much faster during the winter. With proper insulation, these rooms will be heated more evenly, and more total heat will be preserved throughout the home.
Less Cool Air
Running the air conditioner in a home with an uninsulated attic results in the opposite problem. In the previous scenario, the warm air flowed into cooler areas. During the summer, the cold air your air conditioner pumps out will disperse toward warmer areas.
If your attic is uninsulated, you could spend your summer trying to fend off heat in the main living areas of your home by running your air conditioner at a lower temperature. Anyone who’s ever had to do this knows how costly it can be.
When you insulate your attic, the cold air will be distributed evenly throughout your home, and you’ll notice rooms that used to be on the warmer side are much cooler.
Attics lacking proper insulation tend to contain more moisture. Anyone who’s ever dealt with issues related to increased moisture knows how damaging and expensive they can be.
Atmospheric moisture can damage your attic’s roof and walls, impacting the structural integrity of your entire home. It can also create optimal conditions for mold, mildew, and other damaging organisms to thrive. In addition to damaging the attic roof and walls, these substances could damage any items you have stored there.
Expensive Energy Costs
Your air conditioner has to work harder whenever the temperature inside your home fluctuates. No matter where you live, the result will be an expensive energy bill. Unfortunately, due to the nature of heating and cooling a home, this cost will remain high until proper insulation is installed.
When you insulate your attic, you make it easier to regulate the temperature in your home throughout the winter and summer months. By doing this, you also lower your energy costs, which can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run.