The attic is perhaps the last room of the house that you may think of upgrading or repairing, however it plays a very important role in your home’s energy efficiency. How can you make your attic more energy efficient and therefore lower your utility bills? Follow these tips:
Make These Simple Switches
Many attics feature small windows that negatively affect the room’s energy efficiency. For example, in the hot summer months, the heat glaring through that small window will cause the entire attic to warm up, throwing off the temperature in your home. A simple switch that you can make to solve this problem is to add insulated drapes to the window. Unlike other windows in the home, you don’t need to preserve the beauty of the view from an attic window, so it’s best to keep them covered with layered, insulated drapes year-round.
Stop These Bad Habits
Don’t use the attic for storage.
Although this isn’t necessarily a bad habit, storing belongings in your attic can actually hinder your energy efficiency. How? Many homeowners store their belongings on top of plywood attic floors. However, it’s impossible to add enough insulation under plywood floors to make a difference in energy consumption. So, in order to make the room more energy efficient, you’ll need to get rid of the flooring and add new insulation on top of the existing layers.
Tackle These Projects
Have you noticed uneven temperatures between rooms? Does your room develop ice dams in the winter? If you said yes to either one of these questions, your attic is allowing heat to escape your home and is in need of more insulation! Adding insulation can be a do-it-yourself project or require the help of a professional, depending on your overall skill level with home improvement projects.
If you plan on doing it yourself, try using batt insulation, which is easier to install than other types. The insulation must be laid perpendicular to the attic joists, with wire mesh placed around vents or fixtures that do not need insulation. Once complete, your home will be able to hold onto the cool or hot air from your heating and cooling system, saving you energy and money on your utility bills.
Seal air leaks.
Heat rises, so when you’re trying to keep your home warm in the winter, the heat will naturally rise to the attic and escape through tiny air leaks. Before you add any insulation, you should first seal air leaks around windows, plumbing or ducts. It is easiest to use a foam insulating spray for the area around windows and caulk around plumbing and ducts. All the supplies that you will need can be purchased at a local hardware store, and the entire project can be completed in one afternoon!
Install a cover box.
The stairs leading up to your attic and the attic door should both be treated like a door to the outside world that needs to be sealed and insulated. The best way to do this is to install an attic cover box. Luckily, your local hardware store most likely sells pre-built boxes or kits that can be purchased and installed without the help of a professional.
These changes to a small, often forgotten room will make a huge impact on your energy use and monthly utility bills!