How to Air Seal an Attic
Throughout many homes, there are plenty of spaces that air can enter and exit. While tiny cracks and crevices may not seem like much, their combined effect can make a big impact on your home’s energy use. Air leakage in the average house has the cumulative effect of leaving a window open 24/7. Luckily, there are several ways to reduce outdoor air infiltration – one of which involves learning how to air seal attic crawl spaces.
In the winter, attic insulation installation and air sealing can prevent heat loss that can save nearly a third of the energy your furnaces use. The same goes for the summer, where many homeowners have to spend big money trying to keep their space comfortable. Air sealing combined with proper insulation and adequate ventilation can save you about 15% on your monthly bills, which can translate into thousands of dollars over the course of a few years. It can also prevent pests from entering your home, provide even heating and cooling from room to room, improve your indoor air quality, and save you money on HVAC repairs.
So, is air sealing the attic worth it? And if so, how do you approach this project? The first step is identifying air leaks around the house.
Detecting air leaks in your home
One simple way to discover an air leak is with smoke. If you turn off the AC and any fans in the house, you can light a stick of incense and move it around common problem points and watch for places where the smoke begins to move erratically.
These places can be around windows, doors, cracks in the walls, ceiling, or floors. In the attic, you can check around light fixtures, electrical connections, and near vents, chimneys, or other fixtures that go through the attic floor or ceiling. The attic space in your home shouldn’t have conditioned air, so places such as the attic hatch and vents that lead up through the ceiling are just important to seal off.
Another way to spot air leaks is to look for dirty or damaged insulation. However, you should never handle insulation without proper protection for your hands, face, and eyes. Older, existing insulation may contain asbestos, but even newer types of asbestos can irritate your skin and eyes, or damage your lungs if you breathe it in.
An experienced contractor can perform this job efficiently, and they know how to handle all types of insulation safely. They have the experience and tools, such as thermal leak detectors, to make short work of this task. They can also ensure your attic still has adequate ventilation after you seal air leaks and add insulation. This will keep warm air from overstaying its welcome in the attic and prevent costly repairs from water damage.
How to seal air leaks
Caulk can be used to seal cracks that are smaller than a ¼” in width. You can use weather-stripping to create an air barrier in cracks and spaces around doors, windows, and the attic access. For larger holes, such as the ones around lighting fixtures, you can use spray foam insulation, but installing it properly takes experience, and it can get expensive fast if you don’t use it wisely.
For homes with single-pane windows, the cost of replacing each one can add up quickly. A more budget-friendly approach is to use window wrap on windows and to replace them with more energy-efficient models as you can in the future. Cracks in the floor can also cause a lot of air leakage, and there are a variety of fillers you can use depending on the type of flooring you have.
Sealing air leaks in your home is a long, time-consuming process, and hiring a contractor can save you a lot of time and energy while ensuring the job is done correctly. Of course, air sealing attic spaces can only go so far when it comes to keeping conditioned air inside your home. If you have insufficient ventilation or insulation, you likely won’t see the dramatic difference in your energy bill that you’re hoping for.
The importance of insulation
Regardless of how well you can seal off air leaks, heat transfer can still occur unless you incorporate proper insulation. The team of insulation experts at Attic Construction understands how to properly install insulation and air seal attic spaces in your home as well as identify areas that are underinsulated. We will inspect places your HVAC system uses, such as inside an exterior wall, throughout the crawl space, in the attic, and around the air ducts. Even if you have existing insulation, it may not be sufficient.
We can help you determine when to remove damaged insulation or supplement it, and educate you on which insulation will give you the best value for your money. We can blow in fiberglass insulation into wall cavities and fiberglass batts throughout your attic space. We will also inspect your ventilation system and make any repairs to ensure it’s up to the job. Insulation in the crawl space can prevent warm or cold air from entering your house from below as well as prevent a plumbing pipe from freezing weather.
Once we’ve ensured you have adequate insulation and ventilation throughout your home, sealed any air leaks, and made necessary repairs to your ductwork, you should notice an immediate difference. Are you ready to experience the many benefits of air sealing attic spaces? This project will improve air flow for your AC and heater and prevent contaminants and allergens from affecting your indoor air quality, as well as lower your monthly energy use.
The bottom line
Attic Construction has over a decade of experience providing homeowners a more comfortable space to live with our insulation installation. We offer detailed free inspections and will provide photos of areas of concern as well as an immediate estimate. Customers in the San Diego, Orange County, and Phoenix areas can reach out to us today to set up their appointment or learn more about how we can help improve your home.
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Written By Joseph Sheiner
Joseph Sheiner is a construction industry professional with over 15 years of experience. He began his career in the insulation industry in 2012, and co-founded Attic Construction Inc in 2013. As CEO of the company, Joe oversees all operations and is in charge of training and product knowledge.
Under Joe’s leadership, Attic Construction has become the largest leading Attic Restoration Company in San Diego, Orange County and Phoenix. He has personally performed and supervised insulation work in over 7000 homes. He is certified by Owens Corning as a CEE (Certified Energy Expert) and is a licensed contractor by the CSLB.
Most recently, Joe has helped expand Attic Construction to two additional locations – Orange County and Phoenix. He is currently working on expanding to additional locations in the near future.
Great work! Our attic went from totally disgusting to pristine. They are courteous and professional and clean up after themselves.
-Karen L. Santee, CA
Andrew was very informative and helpful during the whole process. Excellent communication and his team did a great job. He came on Sunday and the work was done and completed by Tuesday. Highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a fair prices and great service.
– Joey E. San Diego, CA