Your attic insulation plays an important role in maintaining the comfort level of your home. It also helps lower energy bills by reducing the amount of heat loss in winter, and heat gain in the summer. However these benefits are only realized if your attic is well insulated. To understand how a poorly insulated attic could be affecting your home, continue reading to learn the three ways to tell if your attic is properly insulated.
1. Formation of Icicles and Ice Dams
Icicles or ice dams on the eaves and gutters of your home may indicate a poorly insulated attic. This is because an improperly insulated attic causes heat from living spaces to infiltrate the attic space through convection and conduction. The air in the attic becomes warmer which causes heat transfer to the roof.
When it snows, the snow that accumulates on the roof slowly melts. This melt water runs down the slope of the roof towards the gutter. Since the heat from the attic is not transferred to the eaves, they remain much colder than the rest of the roof. The frigid eaves causes the melt water to freeze. If the water freezes as it’s dripping off the roof, icicles will form. If the water freezes on the edge of the roof, it creates an ice dam. Like its namesake, an ice dam will prevent water from flowing off the roof. Instead an ice dam will make water backup, causing it to flow under shingles and other roof materials.
2. Heat Radiating From Ceiling
Another sign of an improperly insulated attic is heat radiating from the ceiling in the summer months. As the temperatures outside climb, so do the temperatures inside your attic. Even if your attic is properly vented, the air temperature inside the attic will be at least as hot as the air outside. Which means if it's 90 degrees outside, your attic will be at least 90 degrees. It stands to reason, that in a poorly insulated attic, heat will transfer through the ceiling into living spaces via conduction. Not only does this extra heat decrease the comfort of your home, but it makes your AC unit work harder to keep your home cool.
3. Visual Inspection
A visual inspection of your attic is perhaps the quickest way to determine how well your attic is insulated. However, you should only undertake this task if you have safe access to your attic and are comfortable doing so. In an unfinished attic, the joists and any insulation between the joists is visible. A general rule of thumb, depending on the type of insulation used, is that the insulation should be to the top of the joists or filled to the point it actually covers the joist. If the insulation in your attic is below the top of the joist, then there may be an insufficient amount of insulation or insulation that has compressed over time.
To have your attic insulation upgraded or replaced, contact Midwest Roofing today for a free inspection and estimate.