I have lost count on how many times people have told me what contractors did in their attics that is wrong and a lie. Perhaps the work was an honest mistake, but probably not. Countless times, everyday in America, people are being ripped off for energy saving work done wrong.
The tales told are no holiday story, but more on the order of the Grinch stealing Christmas. Claims that play on people’s fear, incomplete truths and lies by the process of omission run rapid just as the snow falls upon your roof. The reason for this blatant deceit is the old-time evil known as GREED. These demons just want to make more money off of you and in turn can cost you thousands of dollars more years down the road.
“I called a contractor to add extra insulation in my attic, because my power company gave me that energy saving tip so I can save money on my energy bills.”
THE FIRST LIE:
There are no “TIPs” to saving energy, only work! The situation has to be evaluated, facts must be studied, and applications must be customize for your house or business. (The facts and information the consumer needs to know and to empower themselves, are numerous, but GoingTrueGreen.com is just an email away to help with answers.)
Yet, a different example:
“The contractor told me they will add extra insulation with a vapor barrier on top of the insulation already on the attic floor. That vapor barrier will make the job more energy efficient and the “extra cost” is well worth it because I will save more money on the heating bill in the long run.”
The insulation on your attic floor already has a vapor barrier! Get a helper, then put on a long sleeve shirt, some work gloves, a dust mask, goggles, a hard hat, and go into your attic to confirm. Lift a corner of the insulation to see if foil or paper that is brown or black in color is against the floor of the attic. A “yes” answer means you never need another Vapor Barrier anywhere in your attic!
You will NOT save any additional money with another Vapor Barrier and you will NOT save more money on the heating bills. In fact, this will cost you more money in the long run. All you need is “un-Faced insulation” (no vapor barrier is on the insulation), which costs much less. If you put in insulation with another vapor barrier, moisture will be trapped and over the years cause mold and mildew to build up. The ceiling below your attic can suffer the consequences.
Rules that never change:
1) The one vapor barrier ALWAYS faces the warmest side of the house. In an attic, that will be the floor above the heated rooms below.
2) Have the insulation on your attic’s floor add up to a value of R-30. This will save money no matter where you live in America, because this also helps with Air Cooling bills!
Our GoingTrueGreen website offers more true facts and details about this topic, please visit or email us anytime.
One last example:
“Then the contractor told me that if I really wanted to be more sustainable and save even more money by being more energy efficient, I also need to put insulation between the rafters of the roof.”
THE FOURTH LIE:
Isn’t it amazing how numbers are never given so you can know approximately how much you will save and how many years it will take for you to get a Return on your investment when installing this extra insulation on the floor and now the rafters? We have a right to know what our payback will be, but these types of contractors will never spend their time to crunch the numbers. Even if they knew how, they won’t, because what they are doing is wrong and will cost you more money.
Putting insulation on the rafters of an attic that is not living space with heat, is an abomination! Especially with another Vapor Barrier! You want to stop the heat rising up from your living space below at the floor of the attic. Not the roof, because you already lost heat and money into the cold attic and stopping the heat at the rafters with a second or third vapor barrier will cause moisture to accumulate in abundance. Thus, sacrificing the integrity of your roof’s wood structure and possibly costing thousands in repairs twenty years down the road.
My next blog called, Two Square Feet, will continue with these sales pitch lies, such as closing off your attic vents to save more energy and having electrical work done by someone who is incompetent or just doesn’t care. Either way, they aren’t paying your energy bills.
Bill Lauto, at Going True Green
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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