How do I remove attic wood chip insulation?
By Hugh Cairns
Back in the day before cellulose and glass fibre insulation products were available, sawdust and wood shavings were commonly used to insulate homes. Before that, most builders and home owners didn’t insulate attics or walls at all, making homes with sawdust insulation better than average.
If you compare the R-value of sawdust and wood chips to our modern insulation products, the insulation value is poor. Often the depth of the wood shaving insulation is insufficient and it has settled, leaving it with little or no thermal benefits.
Attics can get really hot during the summer months reaching as much as 150 degrees. On hot days, an attic with little insulation results in the top floor ceilings becoming like heat exchangers. With insufficient insulation (and proper ventilation) your attic will get nice and toasty. That heat will, in turn, radiate down into your home, countering much of your cooling efforts and costing you money.
Considering that attic insulation is relatively inexpensive, there’s little money to lose and lots to be gained from insulating your attic. You will benefit greatly with increased comfort, particularly in the summer months.
To improve the comfort of the home pictured above, one solution is to re-insulate the entire attic cavity with blown in fibreglass insulation and confirm good ventilation practices. Some people may be tempted to leave the wood chips and insulate over the top of them but that can result in future complications. Insulation contractors have industrial sized vacuums to remove the old shavings.
Next, draft proof around all ceiling penetrations. If you are adding recessed ceiling mounted light fixtures make sure that they are fire-protected, CSA-approved fixtures. Now you’re ready for some new insulation.
Being a home owner means you pay for electricity or gas bills or even both. Many homeowners wish that they can reduce them. The fact is there is a price to pay for a comfortable home, but there are some things that you can do to lower your energy consumption. There is no doubt that adequate insulation will make your home feel more comfortable.
Insulating your ceilings and walls decreases heat flow transferred through the structure. This results in lower winter energy consumption for heating, and less energy consumption for cooling in the summer.
Oddly enough, when homeowners think of insulation, they often think of the importance of it in the winter. But, insulation is just as important for your comfort in the summer because it slows the transfer of summer heat entering the home and reduces demand on your air-conditioning system.
Main benefits of good attic insulation:
It results in drastically lower energy bills
The average homeowner must allocate nearly half of their home energy budget for heating and cooling costs, it’s imperative that their home be sufficiently insulated from the outdoors.
Adding attic insulation will help your home resist such fluctuation in temperature
A properly insulated attic also results in an increase in comfort in your home. With the right amount of insulation, your home will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
A properly insulated attic will reduce the need for continuous heating or cooling during cold and hot months
A significant and long-lasting benefit of attic insulation is that it results in less energy use in a home.
Add Long-Term Value to your home
Many of us tend to think ahead and consider the impact of our present actions on the future. Adding attic insulation to your home – particularly for an older home that lacks sufficient insulation – can significantly increase the home’s value.