Weatherize and Insulate Attic

Insulating and weatherizing your attic can provide some of the biggest energy savings in your home. You can save up to 30% off your heating and cooling bills while making your home more comfortable year-round.

Challenging
Households: 1 completed, 0 committed
1000
Points ?
$80
Annual Savings
$500 - $2,000
Upfront Cost
These are estimates
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Energy and water savings

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0
kWh Electricity
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57
Therms Natural Gas
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0
Gallons Gas
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Gallons Water
  • Save energy and money
  • Improve the comfort of your home
  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

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Overview

The Action
We will weatherize and insulate our attic.
Is this action for me?
If you own your home and have an attic, this action is for you. If you rent and have high heating bills, talk with your landlord about doing upgrades.
When and Who?
This action can be done anytime! DIY? Maybe, depending on your comfort level for home improvement projects.
How long will it take?
Longer - a few days, this action takes time for assessing problem areas, determining the right solutions and then installation.
What is the cost?
around $500-$800 or more if you do the work yourself, around $1,000 - $2,000 or more for professional install depending on the work required. Look for rebates in the resources section below!

Benefits

  • Save energy and money

  • Improve the comfort of your home

  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

Resources

Rebate/Credit

Energy Upgrade California® Rebate for Energy Efficiency Home Improvements

Energy Upgrade California® Rebate for Energy Efficiency Home Improvements

Financing

Weatherization services & energy-efficiency upgrades for low-income homes.

Find loan options for home energy & water upgrades through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing

The Basics

In most homes your attic is where you lose the most energy and money on heating and cooling. In the winter, heat can escape up through unsealed holes and a cold, uninsulated attic makes your heater work harder. Sealing air leaks (weatherization) and adding insulation is the most effective way to keep heat in and your home cozy and comfortable in the winter. It also helps keep cool air in in the summer, providing year round comfort. The best part - it can save up to 30% on your heating and cooling bill!

Checklist

Check to see if you need weatherization or (more) insulation
Decide whether to DIY or hire a professional
Learn about DIY options

Weatherization and Insulation - The Basics

The goal of attic weatherization is to close air leaks between your attic and the rest of your home.  Sealing holes around ducts, attic doors, electrical wiring and other openings between your attic keeps cold attic air from coming into the rest of your home in the winter and keeps warm air from escaping out and making your heater work harder.  Putting in a good seal between your living spaces and your attic will increase the comfort of your home and save both energy and money.

After you have a good barrier, the next step is to insulate your attic.  Even if there is no airflow, a cold attic can still make your heater work harder to warm your home.  Adding insulation to your attic will make your home more comfortable and lets your heater and air conditioner work less.  The two combined - weatherization and insulation can reduce your heating and cooling bills up to 30%!

Do I need to weatherize or add insulation?

There are a few signs that you might need attic weatherization or insulation:

  • Drafty rooms

  • Hot or cold ceilings or walls

  • Hot or cold rooms or different temperatures between different rooms

  • High heating or cooling bills

If you have safe access to your attic you can check for air leaks and insulation levels, or you can have a professional inspector determine your attic insulation and weatherization needs.  If you decide to check yourself, follow these safety considerations:  If you have vermiculite insulation, don’t disturb this insulation, it may contain asbestos. Contact a professional for assistance.  Also, be careful to look out for nails and walk only on the joists (boards, not open spaces) and consider wearing a mask to avoid breathing dust or other harmful particles.  

To check for air leaks, check around places where ducts, electrical wiring or other hardware enters the attic. If you have insulation, you may not be able to visually see these areas.  Do a quick check of your insulation levels.  If your insulation is at or below the level of your floor joists (the beams going across your attic floor), then you probably need more insulation.  Also check to make sure it is evenly distributed across your attic, sometimes it can be lower around the edges.  

To do a more accurate check follow this Energy Star guide on how to measure and check the insulation requirements for your home.  Even if you do the inspection yourself, a professional inspection can also help you determine your attic insulation and weatherization needs and is highly recommended.  The minimum recommended insulation level is R-30 for warm climates, R-38 for temperate climates and R-49 for cold climates.

Should I do this myself?  

If your attic is accessible and not too difficult to move around in, and you enjoy tackling bigger home improvement projects, attic insulation and weatherization may be a good DIY project.  Otherwise, consider hiring a contractor to complete the project for you.   If you see any of the following in your attic: wet or damp insulation, mold or rotted joists or rafters, dryer or other vents venting air directly into the attic, knob and tube wiring, recessed “can” lights, vermiculite insulation or have limited workspace or ventilation you should hire a contractor to correct these problems before proceeding.

DIY guides

If you decide to do this yourself check out these Do It Yourself guides from Energy Star and Family Handyman.  Be safe!  Follow all the safety guidelines and recommendations.

Weatherize & insulate your home

Now that your attic is sealed and insulated, finish the job and weatherize your home and insulate floors and walls.  You will be amazed at how much your heating bills drop when your home is completely leak free and insulated!