It's been a year since my husband and I moved into our very first home, a century old, one story, 1400 square foot home with wall gas-heaters and no central air. If there is anything we have learned in this one year of owning our home it is that in the summer it is best to spend days in the nicely air-conditioned mall or perhaps even go for a nice long grocery store run in the freezer section, let's just say, if it's sweltering outside you don't even want to know what it's like inside. And during the winter thank the good lord for sweaters, sweaters and more sweaters not to mention layers of down-comforters and knit socks, let's just say "ice box" to keep it simple. And from a year of temperature agony what have we learned? Insulation is damn important!
During the winter our wall gas-heaters barely worked at all in keeping the house warm, because our house was not well insulated (minuscule cracks and gaps around windows, outlets, light switches, doors, including no attic insulation) kept the house from trapping in the heat, and thus we were running our gas wall-heaters 24/7 which comes out to many $$$$s.
During the summer, before we were blessed with the knowledge of Texas Summer (a strategy by which to keep your house cool for as long as possible without running the A/C), if it was 103 degrees outside you can bet it was just as hot, if not more, inside. Without the attic insulation to separate the rest of the house from the heat in the attic meant that the heat radiating from the attic to inside the home was keeping the house unbearably hot during the summer heat.
This was a problem we could not even stand to think about baring every year, so we got to work on insulating. We began by taping up those minuscule cracks and gaps around windows, light switches, outlets, fireplace, doors and such. Unfortunately this did very little to help, there's just no way of getting every crack and gap in the house and of course insulating these areas just wasn't the key to making a marked difference in temperature.
So we decided to go with attic insulation, this took the workers 2 hours of pumping recycled insulation to cover our entire attic floor with a thick layer of what looked like puffy clouds. Within the next two days I was able to see a marked difference in the temperature of our home. We no longer lived in an ice-box during winter nights and mornings, and the daytime temperature of the house was no longer sweltering on warm-to-hot days outside. On sunny days I simply draw the curtains to block out the light of the sun and the house becomes instantly cooler. On cold nights I run the gas wall-heater for a hour to feel comfortably warm opposed to all night or all day as I had done before to no avail.
Further insulation research I've done have resulted in the knowledge that attic insulation can cool the house up to 10 degrees! Not only have I been basking in attic insulation delight with our better regulated home temperature but have seen a difference in gas bills which sky-rocketed during winter, no longer having to run our gas wall-haters unnecessarily long means of course, smaller gas bills. And I'm sure if we had central air those electric bills would also be smaller as well. In a perfect world your home would be 100% insulated- I'm not even sure if that is possible, but if you have to choose a form of insulation... I stand behind attic insulation, it will make the most noticeable difference.