Keep The Heat In And The Pests Out: What Are Some Good Insulation Options For Attics?
Insulating your attic is a smart idea since the EPA says that it can save you 15% on heating and cooling costs. While you definitely want to keep the heat in during the winter, insulation has another benefit: keeping critters out. During the cold months, pests seek out niches in homes since they can lay eggs and nest in a warm environment.
Even the smallest pests, like termites and pine beetles, can wreak havoc on your home's infrastructure if they get in. Some bugs and rodents are also carriers of disease and can actually damage the your air quality and health due to their droppings or carcasses. So it's in your best interest to look for insulating options that can address the pest issue as well.
Why Batt Insulation May Not Be the Best Idea
Batt insulation is made of large sheets of mineral wool or fiberglass. Batt insulation isn't wholly bad, since it's quite affordable and easy to install. However, it's not the best option in terms of keeping pests out. Since batt insulation comes in large sheets, it can be harder to compress and cover up small gaps, which are entry points for pests.
Try Spray Foam or Boric Acid-Treated Insulation
If you have HVAC ducts that connect to the attic, then spray foam is a must here. Although spray foam can be pricey, it's definitely the best insulator when it comes to keeping heat in and pests out. When polyurethane spray foam is spread in the attic, it expands to conform with its shape. This means that there will be no gaps or entry points.
If you don't have HVAC ducts in your attic, then spray foam may be a waste of money. In that case, you should consider boric acid-treated cellulose insulation. This insulation is eco-friendly and safe for both people and pets. But since it is covered in boric acid, it can be deadly to common pests, like ants, crickets, centipedes, cockroaches, etc.
Like spray foam, acid-treated cellulose can fill in many gaps. That's because, instead of coming in sheets like batt insulation, the cellulose is cut up in tiny pieces and blown with a large hose to fill gaps.
If You Already Have Insulation, Check it Out Anyway
It's true that insulation in your home can often last a lifetime. However, if creepy-crawlies are getting in or your HVAC system doesn't seem to be working at full capacity, it's worth a look. Sometimes the insulating material isn't thick enough, so it breaks down. If you had a water leak, then mold or mildew could have broken it down as well.
You may want to contact a home and garden expert or an energy auditor to take a look. You can take a look yourself. If you are seeing visible floor joints, then you probably don't have enough insulation. If there is a problem, then spray foam insulation or boric acid-treated insulation can be added to fix the problem.
For more information and options, contact an attic insulation service, such as Bay City Insulation.