attic-insulation-boulderInsulation Boulder:

When you’re trying to stay comfortable in the winter and summer in Boulder, start with proper insulation. Properly installed insulation in your attic and walls, along with airsealing will really help. It will keep the warmth in on cold winter nights, and keep the heat out on hot summer afternoons throughout Boulder County.

If you already have an energy audit, give us a call and we can price out the most cost-effective insulation, air-sealing and other ways to make you comfortable. If you don’t know where to start we can provide an Xcel Energy Audit using a thermal camera and blower door to find what is causing your comfort issues.

air-sealing-photo1-225x300Insulation and air-sealing your home is like wearing a fleece and a gore-tex jacket when you’re skiing. You need the insulating value, and the air barrier for true comfort.Attic Insulation and air-sealing: First we use spray foam on all the penetrations in the attic including wires, light fixtures, top-plates, which are the leaky 2x4s at the top of your uninsulated interior walls and many other areas that are leaky. This reduces the leakage in the home.

Next we add soffit vent baffles to keep the airflow in your attic, reduce wind-washing (South Boulder residents know about wind!) that can move your insulation around. This way we can add deep insulation right up to the vents without covering them, or having it blown away. Then we add a dam around the hatch to allow for deep insulation right up to the hatch.Next we insulate your hatch with thick rigid foam until it looks like a birthday cake, and weather-strip the trim for a nice tight seal.

attic-insulation-boulder-225x300The icing on the cake is GreenFiber Cellulose insulation to R-50 or 60 (16” of insulation or more), which is above code, and recommended by energy geeks everywhere. This has a better R-value per inch than fiberglass, lower embodied energy because it is mostly recycled, and because it is blown in, you get a continuous blanket of comfort, rather than strips of insulation with gaps between them.

Minimum code is like shooting for a D+ on an exam, and being proud of passing. We want your home to score an “A” in the comfort department, whether it was built in 1890 or 1950. As always, we will listen to your comfort problem areas in the home, and work to achieve your goals, not ours.

If you have any other specific problems with cold/hot rooms over a garage, leaky ductwork, or freezing pipes, we can help with that. A traditional plumber may repair the pipe, and add some heat tape, but we can go beyond this to reduce the chance of the pipe freezing again. We can help to bring the pipes into the “thermal envelope” (the part of the home that stays warm in the winter) so you won’t waste a ton of electricity with heat tape that will eventually fail if it runs all winter.

Attic Insulation

Whether you’re living in Boulder, Louisville, Superior, Lafayette or Longmont, a well-insulated attic keeps warmth in on cold winter nights and heat out on hot summer afternoons. In fact, if you’ve had an energy audit that shows your attic needs insulation and airsealing (you have less than 15” of insulation), this will often be our first recommendation.

Missing or Faulty Insulation: The Invisible Energy Sucker

In the winter, hot air leaks out of the tiny holes in the upper walls of your home, while cold air  comes in from lower spots—under leaky doors, and around rim joists where your home’s framing sits on the concrete foundation. We start by safely sealing any ceiling lighting, electrical penetrations and the top plates, where a 2×4 caps the top of all the interior walls in your home. In the winter these leaks allow cold (denser and heavier) air in your attic to drop down into your uninsulated interior walls—and cool your home through the drywall. Leaks even occur through electrical outlets and other penetrations. Sometimes, we find missing top-plates, meaning you have a huge hot-cold sync built into your home that you never knew about—all of which is fairly typical in ranches and other homes throughout Boulder. Occasionally, the top plate above your cold air return in the hallway is missing, so your furnace pulls lots of air from the attic—rather than from your home—back to the furnace. This throws the balance of your heating and cooling out of whack.

Attic Knee-Walls

Attic-kneewall-missing-insulationAttic knee-walls, the triangular shaped partial walls where a flat ceiling meets a vaulted ceiling area, are notoriously weak areas in your home’s thermal envelope. They need proper insulation to make the room comfortable. At best, production builders slide in batts of fiberglass insulation between the studs in these areas, with nothing holding them in place. They tend to sag or fall out if they are cut too small, and bow-out if they are cut
too large. Either situation reduces the thermal performance dramatically because of air gaps. At Eco Handyman, we insure that the insulation between the studs is installed correctly—or replace it. We wrap the whole wall with a continuous blanket of formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation over all the studs, which achieves the following benefits:

-Holds the existing insulation against the drywall—right where it should be

-Covers all the studs and the full area with a continuous R-19 insulation value that reduces thermal bridging through the studs

-Provides a reflective ripstop durable barrier built that encapsulates all the insulation on all six sides (like a box) to reduce air movement through this building cavity

-Finally, we spray foam all the edges to achieve a tight seal and hold the insulation in place.

Attic Hatches

The results are real. Simply scan your home with a thermal camera both before and after all of this work is done. You’ll see a dramatic decrease in hot and cold spots, meaning that the wall is well insulated, which translates into increased comfort for you and your family. Your lower utility bills and environmental benefits won’t hurt either!

Efficiency Results!

We insulate your attic hatch with lots of polyico rigid foam insulation—the most ecologically efficiently product manufactured today and the best r-value per inch foam product available. We also weatherstrip the edges of the hatch to reduce airflow. And if you have an old style whole house fan with metal louvers, we install an insulated cover from the inside that can be easily removed in the spring and re-installed in the fall when the weather gets colder. After all this airsealing work is done, we add insulation to a total R-50 or more on all the flat or sloped areas of your attic.

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