Learn Which Manassas Attic Insulation Is Best For You
When you suddenly feel cold drafts on a windy day in Manassas, VA, you would probably check the window and door trim for air leakage first. However, if you don’t find any issues there, you might be left wondering why your newly-inspected HVAC system is working almost twice as hard. It could be that more heat is escaping through your roof than usual. No wonder your energy bill went up in the last few months! That is when you know that your existing Manassas attic insulation is deteriorating.
Many essential contributors help to insulate your home effectively. Otherwise, your energy costs would be uncontrollable because your cooling and heating systems have no backup. Don’t remember when you last had new attic insulation? Manassas, VA, property owners don’t need to worry about inspecting their attic. Instead, rely on your Manassas handyman to run a full diagnosis and give you expert advice on a replacement.
Don’t wait for your energy efficiency to decrease further; contact your service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Northern Virginia - Arlington to Haymarket to help you with your energy savings. We have the experience and tools to identify poorly installed and deteriorating attic insulation materials. Our uniformed technicians arrive in a clearly marked van, showing our company logo, because we want our clients to feel safe and confident while offering our best Manassas handyman services.
What Is Attic Insulation?
Many of the spaces in Manassas homes have insulation added in order to maintain indoor temperatures, including interior and exterior walls (siding, drywall), doors, windows, floors, crawl spaces and the attic. Having proper Manassas attic insulation helps protect your home from extreme temperatures and moisture by acting as your home’s barrier and seal. By stabilizing your attic temperature, it will balance the rising heat and falling cold throughout your home, so that you will always have a consistent temperature, with enough heat inside during the winter and cool air in the summer. Since almost half of your overall energy usage goes to your furnace and air conditioning systems, it’s important to ensure you support them and avoid energy efficiency issues that could lead to higher cooling or heating costs by installing proper attic insulation.
What Is R-Value?
R-value stands for thermal resistance—in other words, it measures the resistance level of heat transfer, or a material’s ability to slow the flow of heat. Good insulation restricts heat flow, which means the higher the R-value, the better the insulation material. The most effective R-value for attics and ceilings in Manassas is generally anywhere between R-30 and R-49.
What Types of Attic Insulation are Best And Easiest to Install?
The quality primarily depends on density, weight and R-value per inch. Before adding attic insulation to your home, you will need to decide on the type that suits your needs. Our skilled handymen bring the expertise and experience to thoroughly examine your home’s system before suggesting the best option for your Manassas attic insulation needs. We often need to take relevant measurements of your walls and ceiling and check the number of windows, doors or other areas that do not require insulation. The three most common varieties include:
Fiberglass batts are pre-cut sections, or you can request blow-in fiberglass (a.k.a. loose fill fiberglass insulation), which is one of the easiest types to install within your attic space. Some advantages of fiberglass include its high-efficiency, non-combustibility and moisture resistance. However, it’s not environmentally friendly and contains carcinogens that pose a health risk. It’s essential to stay out of the way during professional installation. (R-value of 3.1 to 4.3 per inch.)
This is made of recycled materials like paper, cardboard and boric acid, causing a high level of dust during installation, and it’s slightly more expensive than fiberglass.Cellulose is also treated with fire retardant materials, making it 57 percent more fire-resistant. Loose fill cellulose usually falls well into place during installation. It doesn’t create an air barrier but is dense enough for controlling air movement or risks of frost. (R-value of 3.5 per inch.)
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray Foam insulation is considered your best choice for quality and an easy installation process. The spray creates a smooth layer that envelops your whole attic floor, including beams and construction walls if you prefer. You can spray multiple layers, which will create the best air barrier, allowing almost zero heat transfer. Of all three, this is the most energy efficient option, with the highest R-value. (R-value of 7 per inch.)
Wool - This is primarily made of sheep wool fibers containing polyester adhesive to form batts. (R-value 3.8 per inch.)
Mineral Wool - This is made of mineral fibers like rock, or blast furnace slag. (R-value of up to 4.2 per inch.)
Polyurethane Board - It’s practically spray foam. Boards are a bit more cost-effective to buy and install, offering the same durability as the traditional spray foam option. (R-value of up to 6.5 per inch.)
Polystyrene Board - Styrofoam is used in some homes due to its high thermal resistance, serving well as a vapor barrier between ceiling joists in vented attics. (R-value of 5 per inch.)
Signs That My Manassas Attic Insulation is Bad
We have touched upon some points earlier, but many other telltale signs signify a bad system. If your home’s energy efficiency is compromised, but your doors, windows or walls are in good shape, it’s best to check your attic insulation. Manassas VA property owners should pay attention to whether their attics are circulating cool fresh air through their homes, whether in the summer or winter. Many people don’t go up to their attic much, but it’s important to periodically check for these telltale signs that could hint toward deterioration through damage or aging:
Poor Indoor Air Quality
While backing your HVAC system, your attic is supposed to circulate fresh air throughout the house via ventilation systems, such as the attic fan, roof vent, soffit vent, gable vent and rafter vent. If your indoor air quality decreases, that could be because of an issue up above.
If you suffer from cold drafts, but your window, door trims and exterior trims are in decent condition and don’t require trim repair, your local Manassas handyman will also inspect your house’s siding and drywall to ensure that they aren’t the culprits for unpleasant cold drafts. If it leads to the attic, we will advise you about the most cost-effective options for insulation installation.
The purpose of adequate insulation is to slow down the flow of heat, to trap your desired temperature for longer than it would last. While there are many reasons why temperatures fluctuate (such as a faulty thermostat), it could be your attic dropping cold air down because the existing insulation is worn out.
Overworking HVAC System
Sometimes you won’t know your HVAC unit is overworked until you see your cooling or heating bills, but it’s worth paying attention to when your systems tend to kick in. Some thermostats click when sending a signal to the furnace. This way, you can determine if your HVAC is overcompensating for the rapidly escaping heat (or cold air when using the AC).
Some Rooms are Cooler or Warmer than Others
It can be difficult to tell in the summer due to the sun’s position making some rooms hotter than others, but if certain rooms don’t warm up as well as other rooms in the winter, it could be related to a deteriorating system in your attic (if drafty windows or doors aren’t to blame).
This will require you to check your attic’s ceiling and walls. You likely have a leak in your roof that’s seeping into your attic. While insulation is supposed to reduce moisture, it depends on the type you have. Types like fiberglass likely do not absorb water, however, water could greatly decrease its R-value while the material “holds” the moisture. Eventually, it could begin to sag and enable mold growth in your Manassas home. On the other hand, cellulose fiber can absorb moisture and dissipate it, requiring up to two days to dry.
Rodents often seek shelter in attics. It’s not uncommon for them to nestle in insulation materials and gnaw at nearby wiring, wood and plastic. If this is a problem you’re experiencing, you’ll have to clear the infestation before you can get new Manassas attic insulation installed.
Pro Tip: When planning to get rid of mice or other rodents, we recommend setting traps that you can easily access. Refrain from using rat poison, as they could die and decay inside walls, spreading nasty smells.
This practically sums up all the above. It’s a good idea to keep track of installation and replacement dates, so you will know when it’s time to replace it again.
FAQ – All You Want to Know About Manassas Attic Insulation
It may seem like there is lots of information to take in before considering a new insulation installation. After all, it is designed to protect your Manassas home and help boost energy efficiency. Here, you can see if our customers have the same question that you might have in mind. If not, feel free to reach out to us to learn more.
When Is Manassas Attic Insulation Not Recommended?
If you have an older home in Manassas with a deteriorating roof structure that is prone to moisture, we will not recommend an installation. However, some interior structures have supporting gaps that allow moisture to dry in case of leaks. In this case, we recommend having a professional roofer inspect your roof system first. They may or may not suggest installing something like rigid foam on top of your roof sheathing, or rebuilding the entire roof. The problem is that the attic should be ventilated at all times, but to securely install insulation, you will need a healthy roof system that is not prone to moisture or leaks.
What Could Help Back My Attic Insulation?
Manassas, VA, property owners can benefit from ceiling fan installations. They may look old-fashioned, but they serve a decent function in backing your HVAC system. In the summer, it will circulate cool air, whereas in the winter, it will prevent warm air from rising too fast. Along with your attic insulation’s performance, you will have a smooth balance between all these systems.
How Long Does It Last?
If you have installed a good-quality system, it can last for many decades. Still, to ensure quality performance, our experts at Mr. Handyman of Northern Virginia - Arlington to Haymarket recommend replacing Manassas attic insulation every 15 to 20 years. If you ever notice the warning signs mentioned above, you could always schedule an inspection with your local handyman.
Can You Over-Insulate Your Attic?
It’s not recommended. Over-insulation could reduce airflow and maximize the chance of moisture buildup. Depending on the number of layers, you might never know which one is affected. This is when mold starts to grow.
Do I Need to Remove Old Attic Insulation Before Installing New Material?
Some homeowners prefer to spare themselves the hassle and install new over old. But for peace of mind and cleanliness reasons, we recommend removing the old system first and cleaning out that space. You will never know if you have had rodents or moisture damage until you have it inspected by a professional. We understand it is a lot of work disposing of old material because you likely need to call waste management services to properly throw it away, but taking those steps will ensure that your installation goes well; we guarantee you will feel better about it!
Need an Arlington Handyman to Inspect Your Existing Attic Insulation?
Whether you are in Manassas, Springfield, Lake Ridge or another nearby community in Northern Virginia, you can rely on your certified Manassas handyman to examine the existing or add new attic insulation. Manassas VA residents know that we pride ourselves on delivering the highest standards of workmanship and customer care for a wide range of services. From deck repair to window replacement to door installation, count on us to ensure your Manassas home is fully insulated and leak-free.
Give us a call today at 703-621-4817 to schedule an appointment at a convenient time or to speak with our customer service reps about what we can do to improve the comfort and safety of your home in Northern Virginia.