If you live in an older home it may be under-insulated. There are a several ways to check if you have enough insulation in your attic. Your ability to check you insulation level yourself will depend on the type of the attic/roof and accessibility to the attic. Walking around in your attic is generally not recommended but if you are able to poke your head up into the hatch and look around with a flashlight you may be able to do a basic visual inspection.
- If your home, or upper floor, is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter it is likely that you have insufficient attic insulation.
- If a visual inspection of your attic identifies that the insulation is level with or below the attic joists – you need more insulation.
- If the visual inspection of your attic identifies that the insulation is not evenly distributed, there are low spots, there is moisture in the insulation or evidence of rodent pathways – you should consider having a knowledgeable professional provide you with a recommendation on how to address the issues.
Depending on your location in BC and the level of efficiency you would like to see in your home, an attic can be called well-insulated if it has insulation levels of R40 to R60. If your home already has insulation levels above R30 and there are other under-insulated areas in your home, it may be more cost effective to start with insulating those other areas first. However, a new home built to code in BC’s climate zone 4 (Southern Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland) is required to have a minimum of R40 and a new home built to code in BC’s climate zone 5 (central BC) is required to have a minimum of R50. The Clean BC Better Homes Program encourages homeowners to bring all homes, regardless of age, to energy efficiency levels that meet or surpass the current building code where possible.
Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.