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, 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.
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!
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.