This is the first installment of blogs related to ENERGY STAR’s “Rule Your Attic!” outreach campaign encouraging homeowners to insulate their attics to reduce energy use, decrease utility bills, and increase comfort this heating season.
By Doug Anderson
Homeowners throughout the U.S. are starting to wake up to frost on the grass and furnaces or boilers running full blast. Cold weather is here! Now is the time to do a quick, simple check of your attic insulation levels to save money on energy bills and be more comfortable this winter. We call checking your attic insulation level: RULE YOUR ATTIC!
Don’t waste your hard earned money, just check your insulation level today to know if you have a problem or not. It only takes a few minutes. Here are the basic steps:
- Grab a tape measure or ruler and a flashlight. (You can also bring your cell phone)
- Carefully climb up your attic stairs or ladder and raise the attic hatch or door.
- Reach out and stick the ruler into the insulation and measure the depth in inches. Jot down the number or take a picture with your cell phone to record the number.
Now, check your results. For commonly used blown (loose-fill) fiberglass, mineral wool or cellulose insulation (assuming an R-value of about R-3 per inch):
- If you live in a Northern State and have less than 16-18 inches of insulation you are below the recommended levels.
- If you live in a Southern State and have less than 12-14 inches of insulation you are below the recommended levels.
In the map above, zones 4-8 are considered Northern, zones 2-3 are Southern.
Now, if your levels are good, relax and have a cup of hot cider. If you are below the recommended levels, don’t sweat it. It’s not too late to make an improvement and lower your annual energy bills by up to 10% by sealing air leaks and adding insulation to your home.
From now through November 26, post a picture or short video of your attic floor insulation using the hashtag #RuleYourAttic and include @ENERGYSTAR in your post. ENERGY STAR experts will then provide feedback on how to improve your attic insulation. For more information visit www.energystar.gov/ruleyourattic. To learn how to measure your attic insulation level watch our short video. If you haven’t already followed us, check out the ENERGY STAR Twitter page.
Now, the next question is: should you do it yourself or hire a contractor? We have helpful information whatever you decide to do.
About the Author: Doug Anderson is an ENERGY STAR Project Manager and has been with EPA for 14 years. He works on issues related to the home envelope, including sealing and insulation products and energy-efficient residential windows.