I can't think of anything a homeowner loves more than saving money. And an easy way for homeowners to save both money and energy is by adding insulation. While the return on your investment of insulation varies with the type of material you choose to use and whether or not you have it professionally installed, proper installation of good insulation is permanent and maintenance-free. You can see the return on your investment in lower fuel bills, increased comfort and year-round energy savings.
Insulation's main function is to resist the flow of heat. This is expressed as an R-value. The higher the R-value, the more resistance to heat flow. Different climates and different locations in your home will require their own unique R-value. Remember to buy insulation according to the R-value you wish to attain, not by total inches.
Beyond the benefits of saving money and keeping the inside of your home a comfortable temperature, keeping your roof an appropriate temperature is equally important to avoid an ice dam nightmare.
While icicles dangling like diamonds from the eaves of your roof may be beautiful, they are a sign of trouble for your home. Icicle formation is often a sign of a serious condition that can have a ripple effect of damage - ruining your roof, the rafters and joists that support the roof, paint on the exterior walls and even the interior finish of your home.
Major ice damming is rarely a natural disaster of freeze-thaw cycles but almost always caused when heat is lost from the house and melts the snow on your roof. Warmth leaks from the interior and passes through a poorly insulated and ventilated attic. The number one way to avoid ice damming is to properly insulate your attic (or ceiling if there is not an attic space above your heated area). Taking the steps to prevent will help you rest easy in your well insulated, ice dam free home.
Some links: Energy.gov Insulation Tips - http://energy.gov/public-services/homes/home-weatherization/insulation
Energy Star Recommended Levels of Insulation - http://www.energystar.gov/?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_insulation_table
Photo © www.istockphoto.com/BanksPhotos Insulating attic space with expanding foam.