Sealing your attic can be a challenging and daunting task for the do-it-yourself person. The benefits will surely be worth the effort you put forth on this project. The ceiling between your attic and your living space is where most of the air leakage from your attic occurs. While your air conditioning is running during the summer, hot air is pulled down from the attic into your living area. During the winter when hot air rises, you lose the warmer air through these air leaks in your ceiling. We will take a look at where these leaks are and what to do to seal these energy-losing air leaks.
Most common location for attic leaks
- Behind and under knee walls
- Attic access
- Electrical wiring holes
- Pipe holes
- Recessed lights
- HVAC air closets
Behind all of your knee walls, stuff the cavities with insulation much the way that your exterior walls were insulated. A knee wall is a short wall usually under three feetÂ in height that is used to support the rafters in timber roof construction. (You can find images on the internet.) Most attic accesses are located inside the homeâ€”usually in a hall or back bedroom. Hot air escapes from the attic into the living area around the attic access door. You can purchase a cover that works really well when installed over your attic access. When you get ready to access your attic, it can be removed and replaced easily.
Another easy fix is to seal around the electrical wiring holes and all of your ceiling fans and lighting fixtures with good quality latex caulking and silicone.Â When you pull back the insulation from these fixtures, you can easily see the light from the living area below. Seal these cracks until you do not see any light coming through from the bottom. Recessed lights are some of the most costly lights you can have when it comes to energy loss. The more recessed lights you have, the more heat is pulled in from your attic into your living area. You can make small boxes from foam and place them over your recessed lights (on the attic side), and seal them with a sealer to solve this problem. Make sure that you build the boxes big enough to allow for plenty of room around the fixtures because this type of lighting fixture generates a lot of heat.
Check all of the pipes and exhaust ducts that are coming through your ceilings. You can seal these with a good silicone or caulk. If the cracks are too big to seal with caulking, you can purchase spray foam to fill them. Look into your HVAC closet and see if you can see your attic when you look up. If you can see your attic, you need to seal the top of this closet with insulation or plywood. This simple project can be accomplished in a single day.
If you take the time to follow these simple steps, your house will be more comfortable and your energy costs will go down. Your local HVAC contractor will be more than happy to help you accomplish this task to save you money.