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This Holiday Season, Create Warmth That Lasts All Winter

(ARA) – As you head up to the attic to bring out the holiday decorations — or to hide that perfect gift — there’s an easy thing you can do while you’re up there that will keep your home warmer and save you money for years to come. Take a look around. If you can see the wood beams of the attic floor"," your attic is probably under-insulated.

Measure the depth of your insulation. If it’s less than 15.5 inches"," you’re literally losing heat and money through your roof each year. With home heating prices taking a hefty hike this winter"," adding insulation to your attic is one of the easiest ways homeowners can fight back. Think of it as a holiday gift that pays for itself year after year.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy"," 80 percent of homes built before 1980 are not insulated to government standards. Even newer homes may not be as energy-efficient as you think"," since state energy codes are only the minimum insulation requirements for new construction"," not the amount recommend to optimize energy efficiency. So the only way to know for sure if you have enough insulation is to get up in the attic and measure.

Insulating your attic not only helps keep your heat and money at home"," but is good for the environment too. A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute concluded that insulation is the single most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Bringing the estimated 60 million under-insulated attics up to Department of Energy guidelines could save the equivalent of 103 million barrels of oil each year — that’s 51 supertankers full.

If a warmer home"," reduced energy bills and a greener planet aren’t enough incentive to add insulation"," homeowners may even be eligible for additional savings in the form of a federal tax credit that will rebate 10 percent of the cost of the insulation"," up to $500. Many states and utilities offer additional incentives too"," so be sure to check for local rebates.

How much insulation do I need?

The amount of insulation needed varies depending on the region of the country where you live. In most cases"," the Department of Energy recommends attics be insulted to R-49. The R-value represents thermal resistance to heat flow"," so the higher the R-value"," the greater the insulation effectiveness. Attaining an R-49 value requires15.5 inches of fiberglass blanket insulation or about 18 inches of blown insulation. To assist homeowners in determining the amount of insulation needed to achieve recommended R-values"," Owens Corning"," maker of PINK Fiberglas insulation"," has created a special Web site"," Simply enter the square footage of your attic and the thickness of insulation you currently have"," and it will tell you your current R-value and how many rolls of insulation you’ll need.

Installation is easy

Most do it yourselfers prefer fiberglass insulation"," which comes in easy to install rolls or batts. Widths correspond with standard spacing of attic floor joists (beams) and lengths can be easily cut with a utility knife. If your attic currently has no insulation"," purchase paper-faced rolls that include a vapor barrier. The vapor barrier should face down in an attic. If your current insulation already has a vapor barrier"," use unfaced insulation.

When installing insulation in your attic"," you’ll want to lay down boards or a sheet of plywood over the rafters to sit on while you work. If joist cavities are not completely filled with insulation"," fill them first. Once the joist cavities are filled"," then lay the insulation crosswise"," perpendicular to the joists. Be sure to wear work gloves"," safety glasses"," a dust respirator mask and a long-sleeved shirt. You’ll also want a utility knife and straightedge for cutting the insulation"," a tape measure"," portable work light and a stapler.

For more information on how to insulate your attic"," or to find an insulation contractor who can do it for you"," visit To find out how to qualify for a Federal Energy Tax Credit"," visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

For home improvement advice"," visit JS West Lumber & Ace Hardware Sonora"," Ca. or visit and click on the Answers@Ace icon. Answers@Ace is an online resource with information for do-it-yourselfers about hardware and home improvement projects. The Everyday Projects section has pictures and detailed"," step-by-step instructions for this and many more home improvement projects.

To speak to an Ace Hardware advisor in Sonora call: 209 532 7446.