By Fran Donegan
Whether or not your attic must be fully insulated or simply requires a couple of further layers of insulation, doing the mandatory prep work will assist make the venture a hit. With out it, your attic is not going to be as energy-efficient as potential, and also you’ll finally spend extra on heating and cooling prices.
Full vitality effectivity requires a mixture of insulation and air sealing. Insulation slows down the switch of warmth from one object to a different, however doesn’t cease vitality loss attributed to airflow.
Earlier than putting in insulation, first seal any cracks that permit air to movement from the residing space into the attic. This prevents moisture-laden air from reaching the attic the place it might condense, resulting in mould, moist insulation, and potential injury to constructing parts. In case your attic already has insulation, you or your contractor might want to transfer a few of it to search out the cracks, joints, and holes that want filling.
Whenever you’re within the attic, watch out the place you step so that you simply received’t fall by way of the drywall ceiling. Place your weight on the joists—don’t step between them. Use kneeboards that span the joists to assist distribute your weight. Put on correct security gear when dealing with insulation, together with a long-sleeved shirt, lengthy pants, work boots, gloves, eye safety, and a mud masks.
Listed below are two widespread openings:
- Soffits that open to the attic. It isn’t uncommon for soffits (the uncovered eaves on the underside of a construction) on the ground beneath the attic to be open to the attic. In lots of instances, a layer of fiberglass insulation covers the soffits, however as talked about earlier than, insulation can not cease airflow. To right the issue, push the insulation apart and connect a layer of inflexible foam insulation to the soffit opening. Seal the joints with caulk after which cowl them with the identical kind of insulation that’s within the attic.
- Openings round flues and chimneys. Constructing codes require an area of some inches between the home framing, and flues and chimneys. Seal the openings of those areas with a collar normal from aluminum flashing. Connect the flashing to the framing and the aspect of the chimney. Seal all joints utilizing a heat-resistant caulk.
It may be a problem to search out and seal the various tiny openings in an attic. You have to a flashlight, caulk, and a can of increasing foam insulation to get the whole lot sealed tight. Use the caulk on small openings and the froth for bigger areas. The aim is to seal something that penetrates the ground of the attic. Some issues to search for embody:
- Open areas close to electrical junction containers
- Holes for pipes and wiring
- Openings for ductwork
Now can also be a great time to seal all ductwork joints utilizing duct mastic or foil-backed tape. Leaky ducts can rob the heating and cooling system of as much as 20 % of its effectivity. The ducts must also be insulated if they’re in an unconditioned house.
Lastly, don’t overlook the attic entry hatch. It needs to be insulated and sealed across the edges.
Recessed lights could contribute to a house’s lighting design, however old school “can” lights in an attic are large vitality wasters. The open areas round them permit numerous air infiltration, however they aren’t protected to cowl with insulation. As a substitute, exchange outdated lights with insulation contact (IC) fixtures, which will be safely insulated. Caulk the fixture to the ceiling drywall to make it hermetic.
As soon as the residing space is sealed off from the attic house, make certain the attic is ventilated correctly with eave and ridge vents. Air enters by way of the eave vents, then rises up and out of the ridge vents. This motion removes any moisture-laden air that finds its manner into the attic.
Earlier than you or your contractor begin to insulate the attic, make certain the eave vents are saved clear. You’ll be able to set up plastic baffles between the roof rafters to supply a air flow route.
Attic insulation is important for saving vitality, however it takes a mixture of insulation and air sealing to make your own home really vitality environment friendly.
Fran Donegan writes home- and garden-related content material for quite a few digital and print publications. He’s the writer of the books Swimming pools and Spas (Inventive Home-owner Press) and Paint Your Dwelling (Readers Digest). He additionally writes about house restore and upkeep for The Dwelling Depot, which carries a big selection of froth insulation merchandise you could see right here.
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