How do i know if I have enough insulation in my attic?
A quick and easy way to see if you need more Attic Insulation is to look across your attic. If your insulation is level with or below the joists, you probably need to add more insulation(but remember to seal the air leaks before you insulate). If you don’t know what a joist is, get a ruler and stick it through the bottom of the insulation. If it doesn’t measure at least 6″, you need more attic insulation. We purchase all of insulation online because it is cheaper than buying from the major home improvement stores and it gets shipped directly to us. This is where we order from: Owens Corning Attic Insulation. If you can’t see the joists because the insulation is above them, then you probably have enough and adding more will likely not be cost effective. Even if you have plenty of insulation, it may not be performing well due to air leaking through the insulation into the house. So make sure to look for signs of air leaks and seal them up as you find them.
In summer, one sign of a poorly insulated or poorly ventilated attic is a ceiling that is warm to the touch, or for that matter any bit warmer than an inside wall. Another sign is an air conditioner that stays on most of the day without cycling on and off. If you step back in your yard and do not see large mushroom shaped vents or multiple small square vents and do not see small vent holes under the roof overhang or vents at each end of the gables, your home may not be properly vented. Some metal roofs have a continuous ridge vent but these only work with vents under the roof overhang or “soffit vents”. Stand on a step latter and place your palm on the ceiling at points throughout the house and check for warm spots. This will find only severe problems.
You may be experiencing heat gain (or loss in winter) through your ceiling even though you cannot feel a hot ceiling. Find your attic access and during the hottest time of day during the summer, normally around 3 PM, go up into your attic and see how hot it is. If you feel unbearable, intense heat you probably do not have enough ventilation. Ventilation is very important in San Antonio, but as far as energy savings, is extremely important in warm climates. Home builders do not install enough ventilation since buyers do not demand it and most could care less what your utility bills are. Also, buyers may not want anything on the roof besides shingles since they don’t understand how much a hot attic will cost them each month. If your attic is very hot during your visit, and if you do not have any positive vents such as whirlybird vents (turned by the wind) or Solar Powered Attic Vent or gable vents, have a contractor come and install some. You WILL notice a big difference in the temperature of your attic. Remember: A cooler attic means your A/C doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the rest of your house cool. A good choice are solar powered roof or gable vents. These use a solar panel to remove up to 800 cubic feet of hot air per minute and use no power which is a big plus. For these to work you need vents around the undersides of your roof overhang or soffit vents.