Usually we associate insulation with keeping homes warm, keeping the heat in. Well then, is insulation even required in a climate like Houston? Absolutely. Insulation resists heat flow and when that attic bakes to a 130 or 140 degrees in the summer time the heat eventually radiates down into the living space causing a big load on our air-conditioning system and an uncomfortable home. We can reduce that with insulation.
Insulation in Attics act as a barrier. In a northern climate we would like the heat to stay inside the house and in Texas we would like to keep it out. Insulation resists heat flow and your first priority when thinking of how to optimize your HVAC system is to think about a properly insulated attic.
All homes, regardless of what climate they are in, should be air-sealed, so there is no excessive air exchange from inside to outside. Some parts of the house are under positive pressure and some are under negative pressure and the air will move through a hole depending on the amount of difference of pressure and so we need to air seal our homes as a first step to make them energy efficient. Where would we air seal, well, there are a lot of places to air seal and the attic is our “A” priority.
Start by digging through the blown in insulation to find all of the top plates of all of the interior wall and look for gaps between the drywall and the wall and seal it with a sealant. Also look for holes where the wiring goes in the house and seal those holes with a sealant. The holes for the wires are usually too big and air will flow in or out. The air flowing in is un-conditioned and will need to be heated or cooled to a comfortable level which will raise our energy bill.
Another issue which is fairly common is a chase, there are duct chases or plumbing chases in homes, and its a big hole where air from inside the house can get right up into the attic and on the flip side when the attic heats up to a 140 degrees that basically hot air bisecting the middle of the house and heating up the walls. This will need to be air sealed to make the house energy efficient.
Someone had blown in fiberglass insulation in the past but paid no attention this huge gap between interior walls and this is typical of what an insulation contractor would do. It’s easy to blow in insulation, that’s the easy part. They will come in and blow insulation in your attic and it will probably take them an hour and they will be gone.
And you will be left with this but you have all these air leaks underneath the insulation that allow the conditioned air from inside the house to leak out in to the attic. And now its even more difficult for a professional to go back in to fix the problems underneath all the insulation. Because they will have to dig through all this insulation to find every pipe and wire hole, every plumbing and duct chase, every top plate of interior walls, every canned light to air seal the house properly before it is insulated, which by the way how it should have been done in the first place.
Insulation without air sealing is a malpractice. If you would like to make your home more comfortable, more energy efficient and improve your indoor air quality call Carlos at +1-832-366-4862.