Until recently, it didn’t occur to me that the attic isn’t intended to be nothing more than a storage space.
My house includes a full-sized attic where I’ve piled up totes full of the clothes my kids have outgrown. I have bags of sports equipment, boxes of Christmas decorations, stacks of photo albums and old furniture in the attic. Every now and then, I need to head up to the attic to find something. I’ve always noticed that the space is terribly overheated in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. I didn’t realize this problem was probably costing me a great deal of money in heating and cooling costs. Last spring, when I hired an HVAC contractor to service the air conditioner, I complained about my electric bills. I told him that I was always looking for new ways to tighten up the house and reduce expenses. He offered some suggestions, including a smart thermostat, ceiling fans and attic insulation. I wasn’t sure if the attic was insulated or not. When I checked, I found that there was very little insulation and it showed signs of water damage and rodent infestation. The insulation definitely wasn’t accomplishing anything. With a little research, I learned that the attic is designed to help with the efficiency and comfort of the living space. Heat tends to migrate to cooler areas. If the attic is overheated in the summer, the heat travels into the air conditioned rooms of the house. If the attic is chilly in the winter, the heat from the furnace rises upward. I decided to replace the insulation myself. It was a time-consuming, labor-intensive and absolutely awful job. The air in the attic was super hot, stale and stuffy. The old insulation was dirty and gross, and the new insulation was scratchy. However, replacing the attic insulation has made a worthwhile improvement.