An old friend of mine recently had some trouble courtesy of some unwelcome guests in her attic: rats. She lives in downtown Sacramento where there have been construction projects going on like crazy in the past few years, from apartment buildings to fancy hotels to the new Kings arena. Apparently, these new building projects have been chasing rats out of the older structures and into folks’ home attics.
Now, my friend hadn’t even been in her own attic for many years, but after the exterminator was done with his work, she started thinking about it again; specifically, about the value of attic insulation in Sacramento. I told my friend that attic insulation was a fantastic thing to invest in, and that I would have suggested—no insisted—she invest in it years ago had I known she didn’t have it already—which got me to thinking about all the other folks out there who might be in the same boat as my friend.
Today I want to talk a bit about why residential attic insulation in Sacramento is so vital. I know that insulation is generally something we associate with cold climates, but the truth is, even in Sacramento where it never gets all that cold, attic insulation is equally as important. Why? Because it keeps your house cooler in the summer, too.
The Benefits of Attic Insulation in Sacramento Homes
There are more than a few benefits of attic insulation in Sacramento, even if you never go up there. Just because your attic isn’t a living space, doesn’t mean you don’t have to make sure it has proper insulation. In fact, I might even argue that the attic is one of the most important places in your entire house to make sure that you have tip-top insulation installed.
When attics aren’t insulated in the summer, heat makes its way inside quickly and effortlessly (kind of like my friend’s rats), creating what I liken to a giant oven perched on the top of your house.
If you’ve ever poked your head up there during the summer, you may have noticed that your attic is boiling hot. When attics aren’t insulated in the summer, heat makes its way inside quickly and effortlessly (kind of like my friend’s rats), creating what I liken to a giant oven perched on the top of your house. The hot air from the attic then makes its way into the rest of your home, raising the temperature dramatically. Likewise, in the winter, the cold air from the attic acts as a freezer for all the toasty warm conditioned air your paying beaucoup bucks for to escape to.
In addition to playing an integral role in regulating temperature in your home, insulating your attic has the following benefits:
- A more efficient home: Did you know that the simple act of insulating your attic can reduce your home’s energy output by 20-60%? It’s the single most effective thing you can do to cut down on your energy consumption. Not only will you be having a positive impact on our beautiful Northern California environment, you’ll be saving a lot of cash! I’m sure you can imagine how a 20-60% reduction in energy output could impact your energy bill.
- A longer lasting HVAC system: When hot air is infiltrating your air-conditioned home via the attic all summer long, your HVAC system is put under a lot of pressure. It will have to be constantly working to cool your home in order to offset the heat coming in through the attic. And when your HVAC unit doesn’t get a break, it’s bound to get a bit exhausted. Not only will its lifespan be a lot shorter if it has to work around the clock, but it will also need more frequent maintenance and repairs. And it’s the same in the winter with your furnace!
- Better duct functionality: If your HVAC system is in the attic, or you’ve got a lot of ductwork up there and your attic isn’t insulated, condensation tends to form on your ducts. This can cause dripping and leaking into your ceiling and walls, which then invites mold growth. Trust me when I say, you do not want this to happen. An insulated attic, though, prevents temperature fluctuations that cause condensation. Insulation will also help prevent energy loss through the ductwork.
The Best Types of Attic Insulation to Install in Your Sacramento Home
Now that we all know why it’s so important to have your attic insulated, let’s get down to the practical stuff: how you can choose the best types of attic insulation to install in your home. There are three main types I generally recommend for homes in our area, each with some pros and cons:
- Loose insulation: Made of cellulose, this type of insulation is common in a lot of older homes, but you don’t see it used much anymore. It’s cheap and cheerful, but it tends to settle over time, which means that its insulating power deteriorates as it ages.
- Fiberglass batting: I’m a big fan of fiberglass batting for Northern California homes because it’s easy to install and it’s waterproof. This is typically my choice for most new homes, as it’s great for helping regulate home temperatures in both summer and winter.
- Blown-in insulation: This type of insulation has a long lifespan and, although it’s more expensive, it’s worth using for historic homes that have unique features that are hard to reach with other types of insulation. Blown-in insulation also seals air leaks nicely and reinforces the strength of attic frames, so it can be a great support for aging wood. It’s really quite tricky to install, though, so don’t DIY this one; have an experienced professional come in and do the job for you.
One last thing to remember when it comes to insulation is that in our area there are also several programs available that can help you get a loan so you can afford energy efficient home upgrades with little to no money upfront.
Financing programs include:
Any trained insulation expert worth his or her salt should be able to help you get the info you need about each of these programs—and help walk you through the application process.
Finally, I’d suggest making sure you get the right insulation experts for such an important job. Here at Bell Brothers, we have years of experience and all the know-how you need to make sure that you not only find the right type of insulation, but that it gets installed correctly as well. Basically, you can count on us!
At Bell Brothers, our trained HVAC professionals would love to help you make your home more energy-efficient by installing insulation in your attic—or even new windows throughout the rest of your house. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.
Image courtesy Virrage Images