One of the best defenses against outside critters and chilly drafts is insulation. Since heat rises, the attic can be a substantial source of heat loss and energy inefficiency in a home. In fact, according to Energy Star, up to 60% of drafts in a home can be sealed by working in an attic, says Michael Callahan, owner of Comfort 1st Insulation, 612 Harrison Ave., in Rockford.
“People don’t realize their homes are not tight like a submarine,” he adds. “Even your walls breathe – down to your baseboard, your outlets, around the window trim. It all breathes up to your attic. So, when we’re up there, we use spray foam and other techniques to make the home much tighter.”
There are several signs that let homeowners know their attic insulation is inadequate. One significant indicator is when rooms located directly beneath the attic become too warm in the winter or accumulate extra dust. Another is high gas and electric bills, which could indicate the furnace is running more than necessary. You may even notice air leaks and chilly drafts in certain areas of the home.
When insulating an attic, Callahan and his certified experts first spray a foam insulation to seal and close gaps and cracks. Spray foam not only has a higher R-value (thermal resistance) than typical fiberglass insulation, but it also fits into those tighter, hard-to-reach places and adheres to irregular surfaces. Next, the Comfort 1st team ventilates the attic by either adding vents or cleaning blocked vents. This helps to prevent moisture buildup and condensation that, if left untreated, can result in mold, structural damage and more.
Depending on what’s already in a person’s attic, the Comfort 1st team can either add spray foam on top of existing insulation, says Callahan, or they can remove and replace everything.
Some homeowners find themselves reluctant to put their money in areas that aren’t seen, but Callahan says it’s important to know that this investment pays off over time.
“Customers can save up to 50% of their bill immediately. It’s one of the few products you install that starts paying for itself,” he says. “Next year, there are going to be a lot of great incentives and it’s never been a better time to insulate, especially with how high utility bills are.” ❚