Heat Loss and Attic Insulation

Having enough insulation in your attic is a lot like wearing a hat in the winter. Your stocking cap doesn’t just warm your head; it makes your whole body toasty warm. A well-insulated attic prevents heat loss and helps keep your entire home cozy.

Warm air rises. If your attic isn’t adequately insulated, the heat meant for your home will float right out of your house.

Don’t suffer through another frigid winter in a drafty house. Contact SoDak Insulation for a free inspection today. 

How Does Insulation Work?

Have you ever wondered how that hat on your head made such a difference on cold days? 

The heat your body makes leaches out to the air around you. When you get cold, your blood vessels constrict to keep more heat in the center of your body. 

But the blood vessels in your head don’t constrict like the ones in your fingers and toes; they have to keep good blood flow to your brain. So, those blood vessels lose more heat — unless you wear a hat, of course. 

Okay, biology lesson over. What does this have to do with insulation? 

Think of the living space of your house as though it was your head. It needs to stay warm and to flow smoothly; there’s important stuff in there. 

house in winter with cozy scarf and hat to prevent heat loss

Your attic is like a hat for your house. If you don’t have one, or only have minimal insulation, you’ll experience a lot of heat loss. 

Just like a knit stocking cap, a thick, fluffy layer of insulation will slow heat loss by trapping air. The air trapped in the insulation gains heat but keeps it from rising further because it isn’t bouncing around with cooler air molecules. 

Heat travels from warmer spaces to colder spaces until the temperature is the same throughout. But when insulation blocks airflow in your attic and walls, the air temperature only normalizes within that space. 

The result: you aren’t heating the whole neighborhood. 

Heat loss increases your bills. 

Insulation is measured in R-value. The R-value of insulation measures how well a material blocks heat transfer. Insulation with higher R-value blocks heat better than the same amount of insulation with a lower R-value. 

The higher your R-value, the toastier your home will feel while using the least energy. The Department of Energy states homes in South Dakota should be insulated to R-60 for maximum energy efficiency.

If your home was built in the 1970s or earlier, it probably doesn’t have adequate insulation. Building standards in the 1970s and 1980s required insulating to R-12. 

The EPA estimates that a typical South Dakota home could lower heating and cooling bills by 18% by adding insulation. If your heating bill is typically about $100 per month, you could expect to save an average of about $18 a month after adding insulation. 

If you spent $500 on your insulation project, you could expect your lower monthly expenses to make up for that in about 28 months. 

insulation in an attic to prevent heat loss

How Do I Know If I Have Enough Insulation?

Your home should feel comfortable. If you set your thermostat lower to decrease bills, you may want to wear a sweater. That’s normal. 

But if you find yourself kicking the heat up another notch, and then another, your home may be suffering from heat loss. 

Grab your step stool and touch the ceiling. Does it feel cold to the touch? If your ceiling feels like an ice cube, you probably don’t have enough insulation. 

Take a look at your roof after a snowfall. Do you have an ice shelf covering your gutters? Attics that are poorly insulated will melt the snow on the roof. That melted snow runs down the roof until it gets near the edge. 

The roof over the eaves is colder because it doesn’t have attic heat warming it. So, the water refreezes there, creating a smooth, thick ice barrier. 

As more snow melts and drips down, it reaches the ice dam and refreezes. Because ice takes up more space than water, the newly refrozen ice pushes its way back up the roof. If you have shingles, the ice can push its way under them, causing damage. 

Ice dams are a sure sign that too much heat is escaping your home. 

ice on roof and gutters

Can You Ever Have Too Much Insulation?

You want your home to be snug against the winter winds. Your home is your safe, happy place. It should feel like sitting around a fireplace with a mug of cocoa in your hand. 

But can your home be too snug? Is there such a thing as too cozy? 

Insulation with high R-value acts to keep your home’s heat in place. If you already have enough insulation to accomplish that, adding more will not improve the feel of your home or the dollar amount on your heating bills. 

The goal of insulation is to seal the interior of your home, keeping your heat inside. However, installation errors combined with excess layers of insulation can trap moisture in between the layers. 

When moisture sits for an extended period of time, it can cause mold. Mold can be dispersed in the air, affecting air quality and causing allergic reactions in the people living in the home. 

If your insulation has mold, hire a professional to remove it safely. Moldy insulation cannot be cleaned. 

Your Home is Your Sanctuary. Keep It Comfortable and Efficient With the Right Insulation.

Minimize heat loss in your home by making sure you have enough attic insulation. Don’t want to crawl around in your attic? Contact SoDak Insulation today for a free inspection. We’ll check the quality of your current insulation and make recommendations to maximize your home’s efficiency. 

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SoDak Insulation | February 10, 2021

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