Get Your Bearings from Below
A good way to start home sealing is to make a quick sketch of your home's floor plan. This sketch will serve as a reference point once you get into the attic and will help you locate areas of leakage. In your sketch, make note of dropped soffits over kitchen cabinets or bath vanities, slanted ceilings over stairways, where walls (interior and exterior) meet the ceiling, and any other dropped-ceiling areas. These areas may have open stud cavities leading directly into the attic and can be huge sources of air leaks.
Attic air sealing and adding insulation are do-it-yourself projects if your attic is accessible and not too difficult to move around in. The projects recommended in this guide can usually be completed in a day or two and will provide benefits for years to come. If upon inspection of your attic you find any of the conditions listed to the left, we recommend you consider hiring a contractor to correct these problems before proceeding.
- Wet or damp insulation indicating a leaky roof
- Moldy or rotted attic rafters or floor joists indicating moisture problems
- Kitchen, bathroom, and clothes dryer vents that exhaust moist air directly into the attic space instead of outdoors
- A history of ice dams in the winter (an indication of serious air leaks)
- Little or no attic ventilation
- Knob and tube wiring (pre-1930), which can be a fire hazard when in contact with insulation
- If you have many unsealed and uninsulated recessed "can" lights, special care must be taken when insulating around these fixtures
Continue to Locating Air Leaks.