Does your home have a hard time keeping its heat in the Winter?
Are your heating bills higher than you’d like them to be?
These are signs that your home is not operating as efficiently as it should be because it has air leaks. Proper home insulation locks off the outside air, preventing the transfer of heat between the two environments. This process is called air sealing because the right insulation seals the air inside your home.
Unfortunately, its very common for homes to be poorly insulated, or not to insulated to the full extent it should be done. This is generally blowing new insulation over old insulation, which does make sense – to insulate your home better you can add more. This method only works to a certain point and is not going to protect your investment in the long run. Homeowners that use this method usually end up having trouble heating and cooling their home in the long run.
Benefits of Air Sealing Your Home
The most beneficial thing you can do for insulating your home is keeping the air from transferring, which is called air sealing. When we insulate your home we are either moving or removing whatever insulation you have in there already, then we air seal and add insulation.
Air sealing is important because it keeps heat and moisture from escaping by plugging up air leaks. To visualize what we mean by air sealing, it has to do with holes drilled by electricians that guide wiring down to all your home’s outlets. So if you were to take off the faceplate of your outlet or light switch you would see the opening in the wall, where all the wiring is located. If you were to follow that wiring up to the roof or attic you would see it goes through a hole about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide in the attic, covered by some type of board or plate. If these holes are not sealed, that warm or cool air you are regulating your home’s temperature with, can escape right through your outlets and out the top of your home. Proper air sealing plugs these holes, preventing heating and cooling problems in the Summer or Winter. Adding roofing intake vents after air sealing can prevent unwanted heat buildup in your attic, reducing the likelihood of ice dams forming in the Winter.
As you can see, we use foam to air seal ANY spots that could have air leaks. This is actually more important and beneficial to have in your attic than just insulation. We have used foam to seal areas where ceiling lights are located, as well as interior walls. Small spaces between the drywall and the ceiling can still release heat, making your home less efficient.
If you want to prevent air leakage in your home, but cant afford to pay for a professional air sealing job, check out this DIY guide. While we don’t recommend DIY insulation, this article may prove useful for you.
Home Air Sealing in Action
We recently air sealed a relatively new home, just two years old, and the customers were complaining that an upstairs room was way too cold. When we took a look, the home had not been air sealed, and only had about six inches of cellulose insulation in the attic. That insulation is porous and without air sealing a lot of air can leak in or out. So what we did was air seal around any spots we deemed necessary and came back the next day. The customers raved about how much warmer their daughter’s bedroom is – we hadn’t even insulated yet! Adding insulation solidified the security seals we put in place, removing heating and cooling issues for the homeowners.
Unfortunately, this situation is all too common. Whether the home builder forgot about air sealing your home or skipped it to save time and money, many homeowners have cold homes and high heating bills in the Winter because the builder didn’t seal any air leaks. If your home is poorly insulated, it isn’t always because the builder made a mistake. If your home is older, it may just be time to revamp the insulation. All homes break down over time, and insulation is by no means exempt from that. If you have had ice dam issues in the past, air sealing is a great way to prepare your roof for Winter.
So if you suspect your home’s insulation isn’t performing as well as it could, have a professional come take a look. They’ll know exactly where to check, and what needs to be fixed or added. Just make sure you vet the inspection company before you hire them over, they need to be trustworthy otherwise they could very easily take advantage of you and sell you something you don’t need. First American Roofing would be happy to help you with this! We pride ourselves in the good work we provide, and the integrity we hold in the selling process.
If you are looking for further reliable information on air sealing and air leakage prevention, energy.gov has some great reading for you here.
Types of Home Insulation
Types of insulation typically used are fiberglass and cellulose. Fiberglass insulation is made up of extremely fine glass fibers. It can come as rolls or a loose filling. It works to trap pockets of air and keep in warmth or cold, fixing heating and heating and cooling issues. It is very commonly used, as it’s inexpensive and very easy to install, however it doesn’t prevent or plug any air leaks. It is very important to wear safety gloves and glasses when handling fiberglass insulation. The tiny glass fibers can get into pores in the skin or eyes and cause itching and rashes.
Cellulose insulation comes in a few different forms but generally in loose-fill or dry-wet spray fill. It’s a great, green alternative to fiberglass insulation. It contains recycled paper material, or sometimes other plant material. Its flexibility makes it easy to fill any shape or size area, including going around pipes or wires.
We love to not only help educate our customers but educate everyone else. You could be running a poorly efficient home, and spending more on heat by cranking it up to make up for lost air that you didn’t know about. Keep in mind, if you are in a position of installing new insulation, remember to air seal first! Laying more insulation on top of existing is going to do nothing for you if you don’t air seal those gaps and potential air leaks. Give First American Roofing a call and we can look over your insulation, and check for leaks that need to be sealed.
If you found this interesting, we spent some time debunking myths about your home’s carbon footprint! It goes over the basics of home insulation and has some sweet custom designs. Give it a read here!