Air leaks around the doors and windows are usually the most significant. However, you are probably losing more air-conditioned air from your Bay Area attic. You could be losing almost as much air and energy as leaving a window open all day long. It is a fairly complicated DIY project to increase attic insulation. It can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days or a full weekend. However, geared with the right information and material it is completely doable.
Insulating the Attic
These are a few things you would need before you start sealing air leaks or adding insulation. Make sure you get all your things sorted and prepare before starting the project.
- Insulation: You will need roll, batt, and blown insulation
- Garbage bags: Insulate stud cavities under dropped soffits and kneewalls by filling the bag with insulation
- Acrylic or silicone latex caulks: Seal gaps or cracks smaller than a fourth of an inch using the right kind of caulk
- Heat resistant caulk: Seal air leaks around chimney, fireplaces, and flues using this
- Caulk gun: This makes using caulk for filling air leaks easy
- Expandable foam spray: Larger gaps can be sealed using expandable foam
- Aluminum flashing: You can prevent a fire hazard by making sure the insulation doesn’t come too close to the flue pipe
- Heavy duty scissors and utility knife: Cut excess insulation, tips off caulk, and air sealing materials
- Staple gun and measuring tape: Use staple gun after making accurate measurements to hold materials
- Dust masks, and work gloves: Use these to protect your safety and health
- Flashlight or head lamp: You will need these to make your way around the attic
Hiring a Professional
You should not attempt to insulate your attic if you notice the following:
- Wet insulation is a sign of leaking HVAC system or leaking roof
- Mildew or mold is a health problem and a sign of moisture
- Condensation around the HVAC system can be because of carbon monoxide or ventilation problem
- You have an attic insulation problem if there are ice dams on the roof eaves
- Tube and knob wiring is a potential fire hazard
- Damaged wiring is another fire hazard
You should know that sealing around electrical devices and light fixtures is a potential fire hazard. It’s critical that you consider calling in the professionals to add insulation around attics and lighting.
There are several potential fire and electrical hazards that may place you at a risk of severe injury. This is especially true if you are not particularly confident in your DIY abilities. You need to take extra care when insulating around your electrical, plumbing, and HVAC equipment.
Make sure you stop what you are doing if you notice any of these things during your attic insultation project:
- Mold and mildew
- Wet or moist insulation
- Ice dams
- Damaged wiring
- Knob and tube wiring
- Uninsulated electrical boxes and recessed lights
Safety is Essential
It can be dangerous to add attic insulation if you are not careful. Never work on the insulation if you are home alone. You should examine your materials and work before you start on the project. Make sure to wear OSHA-approved safety gear and dust masks.