Although the attic is an easy space to overlook when it comes to the structural components of your home, energy bills and indoor comfort, attic problems can undermine each. It's worth spending a little time exploring ceilings and the attic to learn the integrity of this space and remedy any issues that exist.
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that homes have from 16 to 20 inches of batt or loose insulation to protect from year-round heat loss and gain. Insulation starts working immediately, can be a do-it-yourself project, and lasts for years. Proper insulation levels retards heat transfer, so without an adequate amount, heat will make its way into the attic, increasing your heating costs.
The temperature in the attic during the winter should closely match the outdoor temperature, and this is accomplished with ventilation. Inadequate ventilation will exacerbate moisture problems year-round, creating attic problems related to wood rot and mold growth.
The attic should have at least two vents for adequate passive air circulation. Assessing the amount of ventilation you have or need may require professional assistance, since it depends on the shape of the roof and attic size. The investment in adequate ventilation pays off in reduced maintenance costs.
Air leaking into the attic from your home can lead to ice dams in the winter that are physically dangerous and destructive. How do these form? When warmed air rises through the air leaks, it warms the roof deck and melts the snow. As the water drains off the roof, it can start forming ice when it reaches the eaves. Once melted again, it can seep into the eaves and lower, eventually rotting wood and insulation.
Look for any areas where you have recessed lighting fixtures that protrude into the attic, kitchen and bathroom vent stacks, and the attic door or hatch. Sometimes chimneys and flues will have air leaks that need to be sealed with fire-safe caulk or flashing, as do recessed light fixtures.
The pros at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can help you solve attic problems. We've provided top-notch services for homeowners in the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts since 1928.
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