Pimp My Attic

After: 19 inches of insulation and cover for whole house fan

After: 19 inches of insulation and cover for whole house fan

Before: Measly insulation and air flow loss through whole house fan vent gaps
Before: Measly insulation and air flow loss through whole house fan vent gaps

That’s right, I tricked out my attic this past week. Inspired by the presentations of EPA Region 4 Energy Star Coordinator Danny Orlando, I decided we could save a lot of energy and money by sealing and insulating our attic. I guess I’ve been working at EPA too long since insulation was exciting to me.

I wanted to do it right so I did a lot of research and got several different quotes. Before any work began, I crawled around through the attic and sealed numerous air flow gaps into the house with a can of spray foam. Be careful–I got some of that crud on my dirty hands and the dirt was encased for days. Very embarrassing.  I also bought and assembled an insulated attic stair door cover, a whole house fan cover and whole house fan vent cover.

I briefly toyed with the idea of installing the insulation myself but I’m glad I didn’t. It would have been a hot, messy, pain in the rear, especially in our attic where you have to crawl on your hands and knees. Besides some of the quotes were not much more expensive than if I’d rented the supplies and bought the insulation to do it myself.

I ended up hiring a company called Home Energy. Their manager, Phil, seemed more knowledgeable about energy issues than the reps with the other companies. He even does some little extra stuff around your house to help you save energy in other places while his crew blows in the insulation, like put a blanket on your water heater, seal leaks in your ducts, install insulation pads in outlets and spray foam air gaps.

Before our attic had only had a measly 3-6 inches of insulation. Now it has 19 inches of fiberglass insulation which is the recommended level for this part of the country. We should also get about $500 next year in tax credits for all this. If the experts are right that you should see a 20-25% energy use savings for this type of project, we should see a complete return on our investment within five years. Of course, we’ll reduce our carbon footprint/greenhouse gas emissions too. I’ve made a spreadsheet charting our electric and gas bills at this house since we moved in two years ago and I’m going to track our energy use in the future to see if that bears out. I’ll post a progress report at the end of this summer.

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~ by jonwbecker on May 31, 2009.

One Response to “Pimp My Attic”

  1. Way to go energy boy!

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