Air Sealing in Your Attic
Air Sealing Insulation in Omaha Attic Spaces
Air Sealing Insulation in Your Omaha, NE Home
Air sealing is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. Hire a certified professional contractor for best results.
Why Air Sealing?
Massive air leaks in the attic and insufficient attic and wall insulation is typically the primary reason a home is uncomfortable and has high heating and cooling costs. Insulation doesn’t work with air flowing through it. Don’t even consider adding insulation without making sure you’ve addressed air leaks first!
Insulation does not block the movement of air. This is especially true when there are cracks, holes, or other gaps that can be found in a typical house. Think of insulation as a sweater — it can keep you warm when the air outside is cold, but it does not really block the wind. For that you need a windbreaker. Air sealing acts like a windbreaker. Air leaks can also let in moisture that can warp and damage wood and lead to mold.
The air barrier is where outside air is separated from inside air, and there needs to be an air-impermeable separation between the two zones.
Not only does air leakage drain energy from the home but it also often carries moisture into wall cavities or attics, which leads to mold and reduces the lifespan of the house.
To compound the complexity, as warm air rises, it flows through any vertical holes into the attic, a phenomenon known as the chimney or stack effect. If that warm air contains water vapor, it will find its way into the attic and condense on the colder roof sheathing, sometimes actually raining on the ceiling insulation below
To ensure that air doesn’t leak from the outside of your home to the inside, check the following:
- Recessed Ceiling Lights: Older types of recessed lighting can be extremely leaky and difficult to make airtight. Often, the best solution is to build an airtight box of flame-resistant material (i.e. sheet metal or drywall) at least 3 inches larger the light’s housing to cover the portion of the fixture that is in the attic. You will need to pay attention to fire code regulations.
- Attic Floor: The top floor ceiling in your home acts as a containment barrier to rising warm air. Any small hole or a gap in that area will create an outlet for warm air to escape. As the air exits through the top floor ceiling, it will create a slight negative pressure inside your house and the air leaving will need to be replaced. That air will come from the outside of the house and will need to be heated – requiring additional use of your furnace, which costs you money. Checking for cracks, holes of small openings in the attic floor will result in substantial energy savings.
- Attic: Sealing and insulating your attic is one of the most critical steps to ensuring that your home is properly air sealed. Most attics have insulation which helps reduce heat loss. But it won’t stop the air flow. Insulation can actually conceal cracks, gaps and holes through which the pressurized air from your home is driven into the attic. Check for staining in the insulation, which is an indicator of an air leak.
- Chimneys: Building codes mandate a minimum two-inch gap between any flammable material and the masonry or metal. This gap is often left unfilled and it leaves a hole that goes directly from the basement to the attic. The solution is to close the hole with a non-flammable material and fireproof caulk.
- Pull-Down Attic Stairs: This is often the largest hole in the attic floor which can allow a tremendous amount of air to escape. Some estimates state that the hole around a typical pull-down stairs can amount to 40 square inches. Proper sealing is difficult, but adding compressible self-stick foam tape along the upper edges of the plywood door will help reduce air leakage.
In addition to air sealing, we also provide attic insulation removal and install baffles and blowing fiberglass insulation. Take a look at these videos below.