Is Your Attic an Energy and Money Waster?
Attics are notoriously wasteful places when it comes to energy efficiency. Often insufficiently insulated and drafty, they’re too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, and both have an impact on your utility bills. So if you’re thinking about an all-around plan to improve efficiency in your home, don’t neglect the space right over your head.
One thing to remember: you may have to choose between insulating for cold or insulating for warmth. In our climate, insulating against cold is probably the preferred option.
Here are a few suggestions for stopping the energy loss.
Plug Air Leaks
Attics leak heat through windows, gaps, and cracks. Prevent heat loss by sealing around window casings with foam spray; use foam weatherstripping around the sash and jambs. Seal small gaps around pipes, exhaust fans, ducts, and pipes with fire-blocking caulk; seal 1/2-inch or more gaps with fire-blocking spray foam. Install metal flashing with high temperature caulk around chimneys and flues.
Insulate the Attic Floor
Installed on the attic floor, insulation keeps heat from the home from escaping in winter into an un-air conditioned space. Choose loose fill insulation if your attic has irregularly spaced joints, or numerous obstructions and difficult-to-penetrate places. It’s also good for topping off existing insulation. Loose fill is best installed by using special machinery. Use batts, or blanket-type insulation if joists are regularly spaced.
Install a Radiant Barrier
Radiant barriers are mostly installed in climates warmer than ours. However, if your house is toasty in winter but in summer, solar heat from the roof is warming up the home’s living space uncomfortably, a radiant barrier might be worthwhile. It’s installed underneath the roof, with a reflective surface facing the open space of the attic, to prevent solar radiation from penetrating into the living space below.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about improving attic efficiency and other energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable home.