Just like your body loses heat through its top-most point—your head—your home loses heat through the attic. The folks at the EPA's Energy Star Program recommend at least 12 inches of insulation (R-38) for most homes. Homes in colder climates should have around 16 inches (R-49) of insulation. The higher the R-Value, the better the insulation's ability to keep heated air from escaping, keeping you warmer in your home and your energy bills down. To find out exactly how much insulation you should have in your attic, check out Energy Star's Attic Insulation Guidelines. By answering a couple of questions about your home's heating system and climate where you live, Energy Star will calculate the right level of insulation for your part of the country.
If you need to add more insulation to your attic, here are a few tips. Make sure to wear safety goggles and a dust mask, and protect your skin from contact with the fiberglass. First fill the joist cavities until the insulation reaches the top of the joist, then if more insulation is required, roll out the insulation across the top of the joists, perpendicularly. Make sure not to block soffit or eaves vents and keep the insulation at least 3 inches away from ceiling fixtures unless they are specified as IC, which means they are rated for insulation contact.
For even more energy savings, do a home energy audit on your own or with the help of a pro to uncover all the ways your home loses energy and can be improved with easy sealing projects. Being energy-efficient isn't just great for your wallet—it also helps our environment by reducing your demand for heat.
Weekend project 3: Clean and sanitize all garbage cans