How Much Money Can You Save By Insulating Your Attic?
By: Amanda Ringler on March 25th, 2019
No one wants to deal with high monthly energy bills, so it makes sense to look at ways to cut them down.
The leading cause of those high energy bills is usually little to no insulation in your home. You may not be in the market to re-insulate your whole house, but focusing on one area, like the attic, can definitely help.
RetroFoam of Michigan has insulated thousands of homes across the lower peninsula, helping many of those homeowners reduce their monthly energy bills by more than half. These savings are more in line with homeowners who insulate the whole house, so what about just doing the attic?
We are on a continuous mission to educate homeowners, so with that in mind, we’ll discuss the factors that determine how much money insulating your attic can save you.
How Much Money Can You Save By Insulating Your Attic?
I know that you see this question and expect me to give you cold hard numbers right out the gate, but it’s really not that easy.
Can you save money insulating your attic? Heck yes, you can, because if it isn’t insulated all the money you pay to treat the air in your home is going up and out of the roof. Remember, science class taught us that heat rises. Then there is stack effect which can push air out through your attic, but that is a whole other article and has more to do with your whole house not being properly insulated.
But I digress.
There is a lot to consider before you can start thinking about the numbers. You could save anywhere between 15 to 50 percent if the attic of your home is the single cause of your high energy bills.
Let’s take a look now at some of the factors that can impact your savings.
Does Your Attic Have Insulation?
This is really two-fold – if your attic has insulation but the air is still leaking then why? But if the attic isn’t insulated, then that’s a whole other matter.
First things first, if your attic is insulated and you’re still having air leakage or believe it is the culprit, then you’re going to need to inspect what you have up there.
If you have cellulose in the floor joists, give it a look to see if it has shifted leaving you without coverage in places, or does it look wet? If it just shifted, you’ll need to rake it out and possibly add more. If it’s wet, you’ll have to replace the insulation.
In the case you have fiberglass in your attic floor or roof deck, you’ll want to make sure it isn’t sagging from the ceiling, flat in the floor, or wet.
One thing to keep in mind with attic insulation is that the older traditional insulation isn’t going to create an air seal. What does that mean? Well, it means even if there is insulation in your attic, that cellulose or fiberglass could still be allowing for air leakage.
We’ll discuss that air seal shortly.
If there isn’t any insulation in your attic you get to start with a fresh canvas, meaning you can choose the best insulation that meets your needs for energy efficiency.
RELATED: How to Tell if Your House is Well Insulated
Do You Have a High-Efficiency Furnace or AC Unit?
The problem you’re having might be less about the attic and more about the age of your furnace and air conditioner.
Obviously, attic insulation is super important, but if the two biggest machines that dictate the comfort of your home are on their last legs, that’s a big problem. That older equipment could run constantly just to maintain a constant temperature and still not keep your home comfortable.
Take a look at your AC unit and furnace to see if they are Energy Star rated. Having these appliances that are high efficiency alone can help you save money on your monthly energy bills. That’s because they are made to run with energy efficiency in mind.
If you do have an energy-efficient furnace and air conditioner, how do you use them?
What Do You Set Your Thermostat At?
Do you change the settings on your thermostat when you go to sleep or when you know you’re not going to be home?
Honestly, if you’re not it should be something you start doing if you want to lower those monthly heating and cooling bills. Go ahead and drop the thermostat a few degrees in the winter when you’re leaving or going to bed, or just the opposite in the summer.
A programmable thermostat can really help you out with this, as you can schedule when you want to adjust the temperature.
What Kind of Insulation Do You Plan to Use?
You have options when it comes to insulating your attic.
Are you gonna go the traditional route and use fiberglass or cellulose? Or are you thinking of something more energy efficient like spray foam?
Each attic insulation has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to know which material is going to meet your expectations. If you want to create an air seal in the attic, the only material that can get that done is spray foam, as both cellulose and fiberglass still allow for air movement.
RELATED: Attic Insulation Problems: Top 5 Things to Watch Out For
Are You Eligible for Rebates from Your Energy Provider?
Did you know if you make energy efficiency upgrades to your home your energy provider could offer you a cash rebate?
Who doesn’t like free money?
If you decide to add insulation to your attic, discuss with your contractor if your project is eligible for this insulation rebate. If they aren’t sure, your energy provider will be able to tell you.
Save Money on Monthly Energy Bills with an Air Seal
Honestly, if you’re concerned about reducing your monthly energy bills, it doesn’t hurt to look at your home as a whole.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends reducing the number of air leaks in your home to cut your heating and cooling costs. You can identify and fix these leaks with the help of a professional home energy audit.
If the attic is the main culprit, then adding an air seal will indeed help you save money each month, but if there are leaks throughout the home, then those need to be addressed.
If you want to learn more about the air seal that is created by foam insulation, check out the Learning Center on our website.
About Amanda Ringler
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.