Attic Insulation


CNY Green Energy Solutions Central New York’s Attic Insulation Contractor. Serving the Greater Syracuse area and surrounding counties. Onondaga Hill, Manlius, Fayetteville, Solvay,Cicero, Baldwinsville, Jamesville,Madison county, Chittenango, Cazenovia

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Blown in Cellulose insulation Syracuse

 

When Looking to reduce energy usage and improve overall comfort in a home the first place to start is the Attic. Heat rises and as it does in our home it escapes through the attic and re enters through the basement. This is known as, “The Stack effect”. The first step in reducing this heat loss is by “capping it”.

Stack effect

The Stack effect displays how heated air escapes through the attic and is replaced by cold in the basement

 
The U.S Department of Energy recommends a minimum attic R-value of  49. This is about 19″ of blown in Fiberglass!. Most homes we inspect have as little as 6″, and an R-value of 13.

If you’re ready to upgrade your attic insulation. CNY Green Energy Solutions can provide you with multiple options that best suit your home. From traditional fiberglass to more modern approaches like spray foam and cellulose we will work with you to determine which insulation will have the most positive effect on your home.

Traditional Attic spaces are unused areas that can be closed off from the rest of the house. For these type of attic the best approach is to properly air seal, ventilate and insulate the attic floor. Blown in fiberglass or cellulose is by far the most cost effective method of insulating.

Blown in Fiberglass. 24" to provide this Home in Fayetteville, NY with an R-60

Blown in Fiberglass. 24″ to provide this Home in Fayetteville, NY with an R-60

While fiberglass has been around for awhile, cellulose insulation has been a popular choice for both contractors and home owners. Cellulose is made up of recycled newspaper clippings and treated to be fire retardant.  Not only is this an a affordable and eco-friendly option but it also is dense enough to properly seal and insulate attic spa

blown in cellulose

Blown in cellulose is a great eco-friendly choice

Spray foam is also a poplar option and when installed correctly is tough to beat!In this method it is common to push the thermal boundary of a home to the roof rafters. Using this method homes with large attics can be converted into usable storage areas.

2 part spray foam applied to a roof deck provides superior insulation

2 part spray foam applied to a roof deck provides superior insulation

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This is important!

R-Value and Air Sealing

Whether it’s Fiberglass, cellulose, spray foam or board insulation, the key words are R-value and Air sealing. Recommended R-Value is determined by what region your home is located in. The colder the climate the higher the R-value.

For example homes located in Central New York require a minimum R-value of 49. That’s almost 20″ of fiberglass! Most homes 10 years or older only have about R-19. The bigger problem though is how well the insulation is air sealed. Tiny cracks and chases throughout an attic add up to a lot of heat loss and degraded insulation. So prior to insulating an attic space, time must be taken to properly seal all these leaking points. Spray foam or caulk is best for this practice.

For most projects CNY Green Energy Solutions would start by pulling back old insulation and looking for seams where sheet rock meets walls, and any penetrations created by pipes or exhaust vents. It’s important not to miss any as heat loss tends to find the path of least resistance and will eventually find its way of leaking out.

 

unsealed Gaps like this allows heat to rise and pass right through fluffy fiberglass!

unsealed Gaps like this allows heat to rise and pass right through fluffy fiberglass!

 

Once air sealed using foam or caulk, this attic is ready for insulation. Skipping this important step will greatly decrease the effectiveness of installed insulation.

Once air sealed using foam or caulk, this attic is ready for insulation. Skipping this important step will greatly decrease the effectiveness of installed insulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once air sealing has been completed the next thing to look for when dealing with attic spaces is ventilation. Proper ventilation is crucial for insulation performance. Most roof assemblies consist of a ridge and soffit ventilation system. This allows air to flow from the edge of the roof (The soffit is located in the underside) up to the ridge and keep the roof deck cool which will prevent moisture damage and other issues. The problem is that most homes have insulation clogging these soffits or no way of directing the air flow above the insulation. This allows air to travel through the insulation and degrades the R-value. Baffles must be installed at each vented soffit bay to create a channel to direct air flow to the ridge and over the insulation.

IMG_0424

Before installing the baffle, it is important to seal the top plate and then seal at the base once the baffle has been installed.

Once baffles have been installed and all seams and chases air sealed, insulation is ready to be installed. Remember R-Value!