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#RuleYourAttic: Ensuring the Job’s Done Right

common attic air leaks graphic with arrows pointing where the common winter leaks are

Now that you’ve selected a contractor, it’s time to make sure that you clearly understand the work they’ll be doing. Don’t hesitate to ask questions before the contractor starts, and stay involved throughout the process! Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Contractors should seal air leaks in the attic floor before adding insulation.
  • If you have air ducts in the attic, make sure contractors do not step on or damage them.
  • Burying any ducts on the floor in insulation is okay to do – it can even improve efficiency. Just make sure the ducts are well sealed first.
  • Unless your old insulation is wet, moldy, smelly, or contains animal waste, contractors can just add new insulation on top.
  • Most contractors use blown-in, loose fill insulation for attic floors, which is quick and easy to install with the right equipment.
  • Any project estimate should also include installing insulation baffles (rafter vents). This ensures that as you add insulation, soffit vents (which allow outside air to enter the attic) are not blocked and your attic has proper air flow.
  • If you have older recessed light fixtures (can lights) that stick up into the attic floor, the contractor should cover and seal them before installing insulation (Watch How to Air Seal Can Lights for a DIY demonstration).
  • Contractors should also seal the chase (hole) in the attic around the plumbing vent pipe (Watch How to Air Seal Attic Plumbing Pipe for a DIY demonstration).
  • It’s also important to weather strip and insulate the attic hatch or door.
  • EPA recommends having a professional contractor conduct combustion safety testing before and after any air sealing as this might affect the drafting of any combustion (oil or gas) appliances in the house.

Finally, tell the contractor that you expect documentation at the end of the job to show how much insulation has been added and what the new insulation R-value is for your attic. When it’s done, take a picture and compare it to the pictures you took earlier to see the improvement. Then, you can sit back and enjoy the cooler weather knowing your home is more comfortable and energy efficient.

Join the #RuleYourAttic Twitter Party on November 5 at 1pm EST! EPA experts will be in attendance to answer all of your sealing and insulation questions.

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