Prepare your home for the coming cooler months

In our northern climate, having proper attic and crawlspace insulation and ventilation is extremely important to keep your house warm and moisture free. Every home is unique and has specific requirements that need to be taken into consideration to keep you warm all winter.  

Most homes in the Pacific Northwest probably don’t have enough insulation. If you have insufficient insulation, you are wasting your heat in the winter and making your heating system work harder. This significantly increases repairs your HVAC system will eventually need. If you have insufficient ventilation, you may be creating a moisture problem, which can be difficult to remedy. 

When you look across your attic and see the ceiling joists, you definitely need more insulation. You should have about 16” to 18” of insulation across your attic floor. You also need the right type of  insulation that has the right R rating. The R rating refers to the resistance to conductive heat flow of a material measured in terms of its thermal resistance or R-value — the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. For most Washington homes, fiberglass insulation should have an R-rating of R38 to R49.

Many homeowners are tempted just to add new fill on top of the old. At Guardian Home, we strongly advise against it. While it may be a less expensive alternative for the immediate term, it’ll cost you more in the long run. There could be problems with the old insulation like dampness, damaged HVAC systems, or rodent colonies that need to be addressed first. In preparation for the winter weather, you need to seal the little cracks and holes in the exterior of your home and roof before those cracks allow pests and moisture into your home. 

Pests, air and moisture cause damage to the insulation as well as the other building materials in the attic. You might want to start by creating a map of problem areas in your home. On the map, note the location of cold spots, drafts, lighting fixtures and excessively dusty areas. Then take the map with you when you are inspecting your attic insulation, Look for the big holes first. They are easier to find and filling them will provide the biggest benefits. Look for dirty insulation, which may indicate air flow. 

Using your map as a guide, look for the sources of leaks:

  • Areas that may have open stud cavities leading directly into the attic, like dropped soffits and intersections of exterior walls and attic joists
  • Wiring, plumbing and water piping holes
  • Attic entrance hatch
  • Dropped soffits that are open to the attic
  • Recessed lights
  • Furnace flue or duct chaseway (the hollow box or wall feature that hides ducts)

You also want to look for leaks from the ductwork and room vents. Once your attic has new insulation installed, you should notice that the problem areas on your map have been improved.

When you have an older home, you probably have old insulation, too. Insulation breaks down over time. Replacing your insulation is one of the best ways to weatherize your home and reduce the cost of your utility bills. But energy costs aren’t the only benefits. In addition to increasing overall comfort, by improving your insulation you will reduce outside noise, reduce allergens and pests in your home and have better humidity control. New insulation may also help your home maintain an even, consistent temperature throughout the home and reduce drafts. 

There are quick and easy ways to insulate your attic.  You can add fiberglass batts or loose fill cellulose, which are relatively quick, easy and inexpensive to do, especially if you are just adding insulation to a small area, like around a pipe. These DIY solutions will provide some benefit, but the positive effects pale in comparison to professional installation on a larger scale. Replacing attic insulation is a labor-intensive process. 

If you’re serious about regulating your home’s temperature, having a licensed professional from Guarding Roofing replace your insulation throughout your attic will greatly benefit your home. In addition to replacing the old insulation with the pink, fluffy batt insulation, you also have other options. Guardian Roofing can replace your old insulation with blown insulation will give you the best return on your investment. This process is when your Guardian Roofing professionals use a blowing machine with a hose attachment to evenly fill every open nook, crack, and cranny to prevent unwanted air from getting in or escaping. 

There are three materials to choose from:

  1. Spray-In Foam or Spray-On Foam
    This material is polyurethane that expands and fills in all the spaces, forming a tightly sealed barrier. Spray-in foam is a popular choice because it can expand upwards of 100 times its original volume, and it will maintain its integrity as your home ages. This technique takes a high degree of skill and is not recommended for amateurs. If you opt for blown in insulation, make you contact a skilled contractor. There are different quality levels of spray-in foam, and the level of quality is measured by the R-value. The higher this number, the better the foam.
  2. Cellulose
    Cellulose can be used in loose-fill or blown in insulation. It’s been around for about 100 years, and it’s made of recycled newsprint, cardboard, and other paper products. Because these materials can combust easily, they’re treated with fire retardant. One known issue with the fire retardant is that it can be corrosive to pipes, wires, and fasteners. Note that we said, “can be.” With proper installation by a licensed contractor, this risk is minimal.
  3. Green Insulation Options
    A more natural alternative is soy-based foams. For homeowners concerned about indoor air quality and excessive CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), and formaldehyde, this option is becoming increasingly popular. It’s made from a combination of soy or castor beans, plus polyurethane. Despite its natural properties, it’s considered mold and mildew resistant.

When your home is ready for a new roof, repairs, or maintenance, you need a reliable, dependable roof repair company. You count on your roofing contractor to keep your home safe and dry. Guardian Roofing is committed to providing top-quality service, professionalism and workmanship. If you are in need of a complete roof inspection or pest control services, please call  877-926-9966 or schedule online so we can make sure you are protected from all the harsh elements that may damage your home!