It’s a dirty, dark, and dingy job, but it’s also the easiest and cheapest way to save mega money on your energy bills. Adding insulation to your attic and making the attic hatch airtight with weather stripping can reduce your year round energy use from 20 to 60 percent, saving you hundreds a year. Now that’s some serious cash in the attic!
If your attic is anything like mine was, you’re probably losing expensive winter warmth and summer cooling through that seemingly innocuous square hole in your ceiling.
To stop your attic from draining your wallet, try these three easy methods to seal in LOTS of savings. These easy do-it-yourself home improvement projects cost under $100 dollars together, take only a few hours, and could save you thousands over the years you own your home. Sounds like a good investment to me. Smile.
1. Insulate Your Attic Hatch with Weather Stripping
Pick up some simple weather stripping at your local hardware store for around $5 and seal up the drafts and air leaks adding to your energy expenses. In my home I used heavy duty weather stripping to insulate between the attic hatch door and the hatch itself to seal the gap where energy escaped. I was amazed with how much cool air leaks from this point costing me big bucks.
This money saving tip works best in older homes as newer homes should already have a sealed attic. So check your attic first before hitting the hardware store. Here’s how to do-it-yourself and make your attic airtight with weather stripping:
1. Remove attic hatch. After you have purchased some inexpensive weather stripping (photo below), grab a step ladder and remove the hatch from your attic.
Our attic hatch is located in the ceiling of an upstairs hallway. Yours may be in a closet, in a room, or you may have a separate attic entrance altogether. You might want to wear a hat to prevent insulation from falling on your head.
2. Measure twice, cut once. Grab a measuring tape, a pencil, and a sense of humor and measure the length of the gap in your attic. Some people apply the weather stripping to the hatch itself while others apply to the inside area of the ceiling. (I applied it to the ceiling.)
Take your measurement and cut that length from your roll of weather stripping.
3. Remove adhesive and apply. Repeat. Gently remove the adhesive backing from your weather stripping and apply it to your attic hatch.
Repeat to seal all four edges of your attic hatch.
4. Replace attic hatch. Carefully replace your attic hatch, placing it on top of the weather stripping. You’ll instantly notice that the draft is gone and the air leaks are sealed.
You may need to sweep the floor and clean up any loose or fallen insulation.
2. Add a Foam Gasket
If your attic hatch is not already insulated on the back, grab a piece of foam board insulation at your hardware store for a few bucks to really seal the leaks in your attic. This foam board adds insulation to the back of your hatch and really seals the deal on savings. Just cut the foam board to size and attach with adhesive, making sure the attic hatch still opens easily.
I had an extra piece of fiberglass insulation, so I just placed it on top the hatch door before closing it.
3. Add More Insulation to Your Attic
Adding insulation to the attic of an older home can cut your energy expenses by 10 to 15 percent a year. This do-it-yourself project may cost more than $100, depending on how much insulation you need in your region of the world to stay warm or cool.
Before adding more insulation to your attic, you’ll need to know the R-value of what currently exists. The R-value (or RSI value for metric countries) indicates how well something resists the transfer of heat. The higher the RSI or R-value of a material, the more it will resist heat.
To find your R-Value, measure the thickness of your attic’s insulation.
For example, to achieve R-40, you need around 34 cm (13.5 inches) of fiberglass insulation. For R-50, you need about 43 cm (16.75 inches). In our attic we have a mix of fiberglass with cellulose fill on top totaling 16 inches in most areas.
The trick with R-values is the needed or required amount differs from region to country depending on the weather. To stay warm at night, check the required R-value in your area to make sure you’re getting as much insulation as you need. There’s no sense adding 5 inches of insulation to your attic if you live in the tropics.
Check the R-value for your country:
When we went from eight inches of fiberglass insulation to 16 inches, we qualified for a $300 rebate from the Government of Canada’s ecoENERGY program. There’s nothing like sealing in savings, staying warm in the winter, and collecting a rebate at the same time.
So try one, or all three, of these attic insulation methods to save hundreds each year in energy costs. Your dog may just approve.
Got any attic insulation or attic ventilation tips to share?