Can You Over Insulate Your Attic

Attic insulation is critical for regulating the temperature of your home, but can you have too much of a good thing? We'll look at if it is possible to over-insulate your attic and what happens if you do.

Too much of anything is bad, including too much insulation in an attic. Over insulating your house and tightly sealing it too much creates a vapor barrier and forces moisture to settle on fixtures inside your home (hello, water damage!). Trapped moisture also leads to decreased indoor air quality and an increased mold and mildew risk. Another consequence is that your home can become too warm when your roof and house are not allowed to breathe. 

Can you have too much insulation? Take the guesswork out of the amount of insulation that your attic space needs and have an insulation inspection by a certified attic specialist. You'll have peace of mind that the insulation materials are safely and correctly installed and that you are maximizing your house's comfort and energy efficiency. In the meantime, read this guide to help you establish how much insulation your attic needs. 

Determine What Type Of Attic You Have

Finding out how much insulation I need in my attic starts with determining what type of attic I have. But first, how do attics work? Also called a garret or sky parlor, an attic is a room or space below the roof of your home or building.

Frequently the setting of creepy stories, attics are used for storing things and, most importantly, controlling the temperature in a home. Properly insulating your attic saves you money by preventing energy loss.  

You either have a vented or unvented attic system. 

A vented attic means you have working vents in your attic. These vents permit airflow, allowing warm air and moisture to escape the attic.

An unvented attic has no vents and depends on air sealing to regulate an otherwise inhospitable environment due to heat.

In a hot climate like Dallas, the recommendation is to have a sealed, unvented attic with a radiant barrier. Sealing and insulating the attic with a powerful type of insulation such as spray foam shuts the heat from outside and prevents moisture from going in. It won't also be necessary to vent the hot air rising from the lower floors as it won't be intolerably hot when you have spray foam insulation installed

Have the gold standard and support your attic insulation with a radiant barrier. Radiant barriers reflect sun rays away, keeping your house extra cool starting from your home insulation all the way down to your lowest floor. 

What if I have a vented attic? The recommended insulation for attics with vents is the type you apply on the attic floor, like loose-fill insulation and even spray foam insulation.

Get A Home Energy Audit

An energy auditor can confirm if you have too much insulation in your home or whether you are simply dealing with a poorly insulated attic. They'll measure your current insulation and inform you exactly how much protection you receive against outside elements. A home energy audit also reveals any air leaks so you can reinforce the insulation in your house. 

What thickness should roof insulation be? For optimal results, insulation should be at least 14 inches thick or have an R-38 value. R-value signifies how well insulation restricts heat flow. 

Can you have too much insulation in your attic? Another way to assess is by observing how much your insulation covers your floor joists.

If you cannot see your floor joists anymore, perhaps you have enough, and there's no need to add more insulation. However, if the insulation is below or levels with your floor joists, you most likely should have more insulation. 

To avoid incorrectly measuring how much insulation is in my attic, it's best to leave the inspection and energy audit to certified attic specialists. 

If you suspect you have an under-insulated attic, the energy auditor will investigate if it's sweltering on your lower floors, if you have uneven temperatures or drafts in your rooms, and if your energy bills are higher than usual without increasing your consumption. 

Out With The Old, In With The New

How much insulation in the attic is too much or enough? If your attic is leaning toward being under insulated, you might consider putting ready-to-install batts yourself on top of your old insulation to be cost-effective. But there's a science involved in attic insulation, and it's best to employ the services of a professional attic energy company to ensure maximum energy savings and comfort. 

Should I remove old attic insulation before adding new insulation? Absolutely! Old attic insulation tends to harbor harmful contaminants and needs to be disposed of appropriately.

Certified attic specialists wearing protective gear will either bag the old insulation or remove it using a professional-quality HEPA-filtered hose. These experts will then dispose of the old insulation according to certified recycling and waste management policies and Texas state regulations. 

Thorough attic sanitation will follow the attic insulation removal, and then a new attic insulation installation will be the next step.

Properly Insulate Your Attic 

Home insulation - how much is too much? You've learned how to tell how much insulation is too much. You can initially say by the type of attic you have and confirm it with the report of a certified attic specialist. 

An attic energy company like Superior Attic can also educate you on how you can have better results through proper installation of the right insulation for your attic. 

Why is insulation important? Contrary to popular belief, you need not be overwhelmed and choose insulation that works for your climate specifically. In the United States, most attic insulation protects both from heat gain in hot temperatures and heat loss in cold climates.

However, what the Department of Energy recommends are minimum R-values depending on your climate zone and area.  

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