In the realm of home energy efficiency, attic air sealing is one of the most effective methods of creating a more comfortable home. Although it receives far less attention than insulation, it is of the utmost importance. The process of air sealing your attic involves the identification of areas that allow outside air to filter in like air leaks. Weather-stripping, spray foam insulation, and patches can be used. Here are four areas that benefit from attic air sealing.
Attic Access Door
Your attic access hatch oftentimes requires major attention. In some cases, contractors cut a sizable hole to serve as the door to the attic. After the insulation in that spot has been removed, the area is rarely covered by much more than a flimsy piece of plywood, which does not act as an effective insulator. The situation can be improved upon with the use of weather-stripping and latch bolts. Rigid foam insulation on top of the hatch is also recommended for air sealing in the attic.
A soffit is a section of a ceiling that is lower than the surrounding area. One of their primary functions is to conceal ductwork. In many cases, these spots lack adequate air sealing and are exposed to the attic, creating an opportunity for a home’s heated air to come in contact with cooler attic air. Soffits that aren’t properly sealed off can allow moist air from the home’s living areas to rise and create condensation. In the winter months, the condensation will freeze. Once it thaws out in warmer weather, it can dampen the attic’s insulation, rendering it useless. If you find yourself asking, “Is air sealing the attic worth it?” It absolutely is if you’re looking for more stable home temperatures throughout the year that can also reduce heating and cooling costs.
Recessed lights produce exposed holes in your attic that encourage the mixture of air between heated and unheated spaces within your home. This interaction of varying air temperatures will create a warmer home in the summer and a hotter attic in the winter. Warmer attic air temperature in tandem with the heat from the lights create an environment for ice dams to form. The likelihood of an ice dam forming increases the closer the can light is to the roof deck. It’s wise to consult a pro for sealing around recessed lights because if approached incorrectly, a fire hazard can be created.
Bathroom Vent Fan
Bath fans that only vent into the attic and not outdoors are problematic because they introduce moisture into the space each time they run. When not in use, they can vent outside air into the bathroom. In this case, attic sealing your attic can help prevent air leaks and maintain your desired home temperature. However, even properly installed bath fans can have air leaks if the gap between the fan and drywall is not caulked. Fan housing must also be properly sealed off in order to prevent air infiltration.
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