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Latest Insulation Keeps Attics Cool

I'll bet you avoid going into your unfinished attic when the mercury inches up. Even finished attics can feel like saunas during a heat wave.

When I renovated my house a few years ago, I turned my attic into an office, away from the comings-and-goings of the household. Great insulation was going to be the key to surviving hot summers and freezing winters.

Since insulation is hidden behind your walls, you probably never think about it. But the type of insulation you have can make a big difference to the indoor temperature in your home. There's some good information about the different types of insulation on the U.S. Department of Energy website .

The most commonly used and least expensive insulation is fiberglass batt. It comes in big rolls, is usually pink and readily available at your local do-it-yourself store. It often has a paper backing on one side to help keep out drafts. If you're going to add insulation to your attic or exposed walls, make sure you wear gloves and a mask. You don't want to breath or touch those fibers.

Loose-fill insulation is made from recycled fibers, such as newspaper or denim scraps. It's blown into the space between your wall studs by professionals. Over time, it may sag and lose some of its insulating qualities. Mice and insects just love this stuff.

Foam insulation, made from organic by-products of the petroleum industry and renewable castor beans, is a relative newcomer on the scene. Professionals spray it between wall and ceiling studs in new construction. It can also be sprayed into walls in older homes. This type of insulation is impervious to water, seals cracks and holes, and creates a tight shell that keeps out hot and cold drafts.

Wondering which one I went with? Foam, of course. As the temperature notches up to 100 outside, my office is a relatively balmy 81 degrees. And that's with no air-conditioning.

Have you considered upgrading the insulation in your home? Please leave a comment below.

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