One of the most important home improvement upgrades you can make in your Western Michigan home is upgrading your insulation. Insulation updates will not only make your Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo house more comfortable year-round, but they can also reduce your heating and cooling costs and put less stress on your HVAC system.
Almost all homes have some insulation in them, but if your home is old or hasn’t had any energy efficiency upgrades done in a while, it’s likely that you could benefit from new insulation installation. Attic insulation is one of the best places to start, but how do you know if you could use more insulation?
How Do I Know If I Have Enough Attic Insulation?
It can be challenging for the average homeowner to evaluate their home’s insulation levels, in part because they aren’t expert insulation contractors, and also because a home’s insulation is often hidden away behind walls or in hard-to-access areas.
But there are a few ways to get a good sense for whether you could benefit from an attic insulation upgrade. Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you?
Do You Have Ice Dams on Your Roof?
Ice dams form when heat from the inside of your home transfers up through your attic and warms your roof shingles, melting snow that travels down and freezes once it reaches the eaves. As ice dams grow, they can trap snow melting on your roof surface, which can then get inside your home, creating water damage and major headaches in the middle of winter.
Ice dams are the result of poor attic insulation, so if you’re seeing ice dams or big icicles on your roof, it’s likely that too much heat is escaping your house through your attic.
Are Certain Rooms in Your Home Too Cold in the Winter?
Another tell-tale sign of poor or uneven insulation is uneven or inconsistent room-to-room temperatures. A well-insulated home should provide a thick layer of thermal protection that helps every area of your house stay cozy and comfortable in the winter—if you have upstairs rooms that never seem to be as warm as the rest of the house, spotty attic insulation could be to blame.
Are Your Heating Bills Too High?
High energy bills are one of the most obvious signs that there are energy efficiency issues in your home, and insulation is the first place to look. An underinsulated home will let lots of heat escape your living spaces, and your furnace or heating system will have to run longer to make up for it. You’re paying for all of that wasted heat now, but you don’t have to be—insulation upgrades almost always result in lower energy costs for the homeowner.
What is the Right Attic Insulation R-Value for Your Michigan Home?
The amount of insulation necessary to protect your home depends largely on how cold the climate you live in is—the colder the winters get, the more insulation you’ll need to keep that heat inside. One way to measure insulation is by its R-value, or how effectively it works to slow heat transfer.
Michigan is actually split up into three different climate zones, according to the DOE and EPA, but the Grand Rapids area of Western Michigan falls under Zone 5, and homes in Zone 5 should have an attic insulation R-value of R49 to R60.
Different types of insulation and insulation materials, from spray foam insulation to blown-in insulation, have different R-values, so if you’re looking for the best insulation for your attic, you’ll need to select an insulation type, find out what its R-value per inch is, and then determine how many inches you’ll need to reach the recommended levels.
Schedule a Home Energy Audit with WMGB Today
Of course, most homeowners want to take the guesswork out of their insulation projects, and are looking for an expert to assess their home performance and find the upgrades that will make the most impact on their home comfort and energy costs. That’s what a healthy home assessment and energy audit from WMGB is for!
Using both our team’s expertise and advanced building science technology, our audits can determine just how efficient (or inefficient) your home currently is, as well as the specific areas that could most benefit from upgrades. The team at WMGB has completed over 6,000 audits throughout the state and 3,000 home retrofits, so if you’re looking for a local contractor with lots of experience with attic insulation near you, give WMGB Home Improvement a call. Make your home more comfortable and energy efficient with upgraded attic insulation. Call us or contact us today to schedule a home energy audit.