The attic is the Rodney Dangerfield of the home. It doesn’t get a lot of respect, but it’s one of the most important parts of the house. If it’s not air-sealed properly, you may as well be throwing money out the window.
Air sealing your attic is the process of getting rid of attic bypasses. These are the spaces that allow warm air to leak up into the attic. By sealing these spaces, you avoid ice dams, frost, and other moisture problems in the attic. Left unchecked, these problems can cause serious roof damage.
This article shows you how to seal an attic. We’ll also discuss what an attic is, the importance of air sealing it, and the steps you need to take to get the job done.
What Is an Attic and Why Is It Important To Air Seal It?
Here’s the thing, your attic is the space between your ceiling and roof. It’s usually used as a storage space for things you don’t often use, like holiday decorations and out-of-season clothes.
The attic also serves an important function in your home’s heating and cooling system. It helps regulate the temperature in your home by keeping the hot air inside during the winter and the cool air in the summer.
For the attic to do its job, it must be adequately insulated and air-sealed. If gaps or leaks exist in its structure, warm air will escape in the winter, and cool air will escape in the summer. This makes your heating and cooling system work harder, driving up your utility bills.
What Happens if You Have Attic Bypasses?
If your attic is not properly air sealed, you may experience some problems, including:
- Ice dams: When warm air leaks into the attic, it melts the snow on the roof. This water then runs down to the gutters and freezes, forming an ice dam. The ice dam prevents the melting water from draining properly and can back up under the shingles, causing leaks.
- Frost: When warm air leaks into the attic, it can cause frost to form on the underside of the roof deck. This can damage the roof and make it more susceptible to leaks.
- Moisture: Warm air that leaks into the attic can cause condensation, leading to mold and rot. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if the attic is adequately ventilated. In temporary situations, you can use a dehumidifier to regulate the moisture levels in the attic.
How To Air Seal an Attic?
Air sealing an attic is a high-stakes job, and it’s one that’s best left to the professionals. But if you’re feeling handy, here are the steps you’ll need to take:
- Find the attic bypasses: The first step is finding the gaps and leaks that allow warm air to escape into the attic. You can do this by doing a visual inspection of the attic or by using a thermal camera.
- Seal the gaps and leaks: Once you’ve found the cracks and leaks, you’ll need to seal them with caulk, expanding foam, or weatherstripping. Sealing penetrations, such as electrical outlets and light fixtures, is also a good idea.
- Install attic insulation: The next step is to install attic insulation. There are various insulation products on the market, so be sure to choose the one that’s right for your home.
- Install a vapor barrier: The final step is to install a vapor barrier. This will help to prevent condensation and mold growth in the attic. Vapor barriers are available at most hardware stores.
By following these steps, you can air seal your attic and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Tips for Maintaining a Properly Sealed Attic
Once you’ve air sealed your attic, it’s important to take precautions to avoid nasty surprises later. Here are a few tips:
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Check for Mold
Mold can grow in attics that are not adequately ventilated, leading to respiratory diseases and aggravation of allergies. That’s why I recommend cleaning up any mold immediately after you see it. It usually looks like black spots on the walls or ceiling.
You also want to find the source of the moisture and eliminate it. Otherwise, the mold will just come back.
Proper ventilation is key to preventing condensation and mold growth in an attic. Be sure to install a vent fan in the attic and open the vents when the fan is running.
You also want to ensure that the vents are clear of any obstructions, such as insulation.
Invest in a Thermal Camera
A thermal camera can be a valuable tool for finding gaps and leaks in an attic. It can also be used to see areas that are not adequately insulated.
If you plan on air sealing your attic, use a thermal camera to find any problem areas.
Learn How To Fix Attic Bypasses
There are several ways of fixing attic bypasses. The best way to determine which method is suitable for your home is to consult with a professional.
However, some standard materials for fixing attic bypasses include caulk, expanding foam, and weatherstripping.
Staying on top of these tips will help to ensure that your attic remains adequately sealed. Doing so can improve your home’s energy efficiency and prevent condensation and mold growth.
Is Air Sealing the Same As Insulation?
No, air sealing and insulation are not the same. Air sealing is filling the gaps and leaks that allow warm air to escape into the attic. Examples of air sealers include weatherstripping and caulk.
Insulation, on the other hand, is a material used to keep the warm air in the winter and the cool air in the summer. Examples of insulation include fiberglass, cellulose, and foam. While air sealing and insulation are important for energy efficiency, they are two different things. Be sure to use both to achieve the best results.
How Much Does It Cost To Air Seal an Attic?
The cost of air sealing an attic varies depending on the size of the attic and the number of bypasses. Expect to spend between $200 and $400 to air seal an attic. However, this number can increase or decrease depending on the specific situation.
If you’re thinking about air sealing your attic, be sure to consult with a professional to get an estimate for the work. You also want to avoid the temptation of DIYing this project.
What Is More Important, Air Sealing or Insulation?
Both air sealing and insulation are important for energy efficiency. However, the order in which they are done can make a difference.
Generally speaking, it’s best to air-seal the attic before adding insulation. This is because air sealing will help prevent warm air from escaping into the attic, making the insulation less effective.
Air sealing an attic is a great way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. You can keep your home warmer and cooler in the summer by filling the gaps and leaks that allow warm air to escape.
In addition, air sealing will help to prevent condensation and mold growth in the attic.
If you’re thinking about air sealing your attic, be sure to consult with a professional to get an estimate for the work. And remember, it’s always best to air seal the attic before adding insulation.