Some states have a year-long summer. Others are cold for 12 months.

In New Jersey and the Delaware Valley, homeowners experience all four seasons. Under these circumstances, there are specific actions homeowners can take to get the most out of their home.

One of these actions is improving the attic — specifically, the attic’s energy efficiency.

Keeping the attic energy efficient helps keep the home healthy during all four seasons.

Here are 4 of the best ways to improve your attic energy efficiency.

1. Improve Your Attic’s Access Point

The attic access point — you probably see it every day without thinking twice about it.

Your scuttle hole and/or attic door could be wasting your home’s energy.

If the attic access point is not optimized for energy efficiency, air will be leaking between your living area and your attic. Your conditioned air can escape through the attic access point, wasting energy and money on conditioning the lower levels of your home. It doesn’t matter what season it is either — whether you are trying to keep your home toasty in the winter of cool in the summer, your attic access point can contribute to energy loss.

The solution?

We recommend two things:

  1. Weatherstripping
  2. Attic access cover

Attic accesses often have gaps between the door and the ceiling/attic floor. When these gaps are present, weatherstripping is a simple do-it-yourself solution.

For homeowners looking to get the most out of their time and effort, installing an attic access cover could be the perfect remedy.

Attic access covers are a simple installation made for attic scuttle holes and latches. They insulate the attic access and prevent the air from escaping in the same way that weatherstripping does. Other benefits of attic access insulation covers include:

  • Prevents bugs from entering the living area
  • Saves money on monthly energy bills
  • The material is durable and built to last

Weatherstripping and attic access covers are both excellent options. However, for the strongest means of insulation and energy saving, attic access covers provide the best results.

2. Improve Your Attic’s Sealing

After you tackle your attic access, the next step to improving attic energy efficiency is to improve the attic itself.

The first part of that is sealing.

The main goal of improving sealing is to prevent air leakage from the attic.

As mentioned in part 1, air can leak out of gaps and cracks in the attic access. However, the concept of air leakage can be a problem elsewhere.

Polyurethane foam seals gaps in wooden frame construction conserving energy.

Air can leak in gaps in windows, walls, and the floor especially. Take a look around and examine if you have gaps around the following:

  • Wire holes
  • Can lights
  • Ducts or vents
  • Cracks in the floorboards
  • Spaces where walls/floors/ceilings meet

If you find spaces near these elements, materials such as sealant, caulk, and/or weatherstrips can often be good solutions. All three will help limit the amount of air leakage in the attic.

For those with duct-work in their attic, air sealing can be critical.

When your air is leaking from ducts, all of the air that would be funneled directly into your living room may not be leaking up from your attic access, but directly from the ducts themselves. Thanks to something know as the “stack effect” (rising heat in the house), air leakages from ducts happen constantly, even when your air is not running. The joints that hold the ducts together leak air, the space in between the ducts and walls leak air, and you end up paying for it (literally — in utility bills).

When it comes to sealing duct-work, a materials such as spray foam, duct mastic, or duct tape can be a homeowners best friend.

Homeowners should also consider the importance of insulating the ducts as well. This concept should actually be applied to the entirety of the attic.

3. Improve Your Attic Insulation

Thanks to infrared technology, we are able to further see where homes need insulation.

When our technicians go into homes, the attic is one of the usual suspects for under-insulation.

In the Delaware Valley, where recommended R-Value (resistance to heat) ranges from R38 to R60, having the right amount of insulation is a necessity if you want good whole-home health. R-Values vary by material, but to get a better sense of what kind of R-Values you may already have, check out this chart. For the most accurate measurements, it’s always best to have a healthy home professional inspect your attic and determine what R-Value will work best for your home.

So how do you insulate your attic?

First, consider R-Value.

Next, identify what kind of insulation and what amount of insulation you will need for optimal insulation.

Some of the most popular attic insulation materials include:

  • Fiberglass (comes as batt)
  • Cellulose (comes blown)
  • Mineral wool (comes batt or blown)

Your walls, joists, and attic floors may all need better insulation. You may be able to judge this with the naked eye, but we recommend having an expert take a look. Experienced technicians will be able to give you more insight into R-Values, identify every spot that needs insulation, and offer actionable advice on the best way to handle any under-insulation.

Bonus Tip: Use Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation.

Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation (MLI) is the hidden gem of insulation materials.

MLI reflects radiant heat from the sun that permeates through the roof to keep R-Value consistent, and the temperature in the living area contained.

While most MLI installations take place in the attic, we can apply our reflective insulation products anywhere in your home to better insulate your home. Attics, crawl spaces, garage doors, below your floors—we even have wraps for old hot water heaters. MLI can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency levels and enjoy increased savings and comfort.

4. Improve Your Attic Ventilation

Ventilation, often thought of as “airflow”, tends to be overlooked.

Unlike other parts of the country like the southern and western states where it is hot year-round and attics can reach deathly high temperatures, the northeast only experiences high-heat for about two months. Likewise, the importance of airflow in the attic can easily escape the minds of homeowners.

Plus, most people aren’t really hanging out in their attic. So why does your attic need ventilation?

The truth is, ventilation is needed during every month of the year.

If you don’t have a healthy stream of air in your attic in the summer, you could be looking at moisture damage and mold.

And if you don’t have that healthy airflow in the winter, you could be looking at different yet similar issues. The potential for mold growth will be there, and excess moisture could cause warped joists, unsafe ice damming on the roof, and rotting wood.

The solution?

We recommend using a solar attic fan in New Jersey.

Solar attic fans — as the name implies — run solely on the power of the sun. That means less electricity is needed and more energy efficiency is earned.

They regulate your attic by expelling hot air and circulating fresh outside air to maintain healthy, consistent air quality.

To learn more about the benefits of installing a solar attic fan, click here.

Take Action — Improve Your Attic

If you want to improve your attic, we recommend seeking out the advice of an expert. Our technicians offer free attic inspections and can give you personalized advice based on the condition of your house and the climates that your house will be going through. To get an expert’s perspective, contact us today for a free inspection.

Most people tend to think of their homes as their happy place, like a warm embrace when entering your home after being outside in the cold. Even the walk from the car to the front door makes you long for the warmth of your home and the comfort that lies within.

Thanks to COVID, things have changed a bit, and in the face of a post-COVID world, things will continue to be different. Many of us who work from home due to COVID will continue to do so in some form. With the horrors of the pandemic came a new way of working and living.

I frequently get calls from customers who are setting up shop at home, and they aren’t physically comfortable in that space. Areas of the home that were once designated for cars, guest bedrooms, walk-in attic storage, or basement storage are now little carved out nooks for many remote workers to find a quiet place to get their work done. With so many of us re-locating within our abode and spending a large quantity of time there, we realize that these areas are suffering in the “warm and cozy” department. If you are feeling that way now, just wait until summer — if that area is not insulated or under-insulated, you will be roasting.

There is so much we can do for you at Attics and More, and we are only a phone call away. One complimentary, no-pressure visit from our friendly Attic Inspector, and you’re this close to finding comfort again. We can add blown-in insulation to finished walls, ceilings, and floors; we can install batted and unbatted insulation on open walls’ we can place blown-in insulation in the attic. Gaps in the attic? We air seal them.

Hot air and cold air are in a constant contest to see who can reach the other following the shortest path. We will send out a friendly Attic Inspector with his infrared camera at the ready and take pictures to show you where the air is escaping. ( We will email the images to you as well.) We wrap ductwork, create an insulating barrier for bedrooms that live above your garage and are colder than the other rooms on a second floor. We hunt down all the little places where air escapes and burdens your furnace in winter and air conditioning in summer by making them work overtime. I always explain it this way: “It’s simply science.” And science doesn’t lie.

home-energy-loss

Give our super-friendly Customer Experience Team a call today to get the ball rolling and make your new workspace worthy of its own “Welcome” mat.

 

 

The team at Attics and More doesn’t need a crystal ball to know it’s cold inside too. One of the benefits of having so much customer contact is the ability to learn in real-time what’s happening in our prospective clients’ homes. The main complaints are cold spots in the house, especially on the second floor of the home, and the room that sits above an attached garage.

November days in the 70⁰s are gone. The discomfort of the cold in your home is not inviting, and your heater is working overtime to keep up with the cold temperature inside your house. Those with ice-cold bedrooms are huddling under ten comforters each, and there is relentless complaining  (especially after taking a shower) that you cannot get and stay warm.

The good news is that there is a fix — one that is just as good at stopping cold spots in the winter as it is nixing hot spots in the summer.

I had a woman from Philadelphia call recently, and she told me that she knew nothing about attics. She had purchased and now shares a home with her 91-year-old father. She complained about the cold to her father, and he told her that the culprit was their attic. She was surprised to hear it, but she gave me a call. Her father was right. Other issues arise when you have a room above an attached garage. The loudest complaints come from families where the master bedroom sits above the garage, and it is an icebox—no room for romance in a freezer.

If you speak to any HVAC professional or roofer, they will tell you the same thing. The problem lies within the attic and, in the case of the room above the garage, it lies in the garage’s insulation or lack thereof. We appreciate that these specialists reinforce our educated message to our customers.

The solution is simple and scientific. I don’t “math” well, but science makes sense. We try to educate our consumers so they are better positioned to know what they are getting for their investment and why. I tell our customers who are getting multiple bids on a project what to ask the other companies. We strive to not only do a good job but the best job. Once you are our customer, you will remain our customer forever, and we are here to assist you should any questions arise in the future after we do a project in your home.

Seal, Insulate, and Ventilate Your Attic

Air Sealing Your Attic

Now, onto the education part. We preach “seal, insulate, and ventilate.” The cold and warm air is always trying to find each other. This is where the sealing comes in. In the winter, the warm air is finding its way outside while the cold air wants to come inside. The only way to stop this is to air seal the attic.

Our air sealing service, which will seal holes and leaks in your attic, can significantly cut down on air leakage and can have an immediate impact on your energy bills. An added benefit is that sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort.

Insulation In Your Attic

The next component is to insulate. Insulation is measured in something called an R-Value, and in the tri-state area of New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, we want to insulate our attic to a level of R-38 or 15 inches. We do things a bit differently from the way other insulation companies do. We provide a guaranteed bag count of insulation, as well as an R-Value guarantee.  The blown-in fiberglass insulation that we install is done by bag count, not just height, to reach the proper R-Value of R-38 or 15 inches. Some companies set their blowers to blow the material in a fluffier consistency to reach that level using fewer bags. With Attics and More, you will receive the full bag count, even if that increases your insulation height and value to level R-44. You will also receive the lifetime R-Value Guarantee, which states that if at any time the blown-in insulation in your home falls under the purchased R-Value, the Attics and More installation team will make an appointment to refill the attic to the purchased R-Value, at no charge. This certificate is transferable to any owner of the home listed at the address below, as long as the house is standing and has not been condemned by any city or municipality. If the level falls below the promised regional R-38, we will top it off at no cost to you.

Ventilate Your Attic

Ventilation in the attic is almost always thought of as a summertime concern. Our solar attic fans by Solaro Aire are sourced and manufactured in the USA, remove heat during the hot summer months, and remove moisture that can cause mold and mildew in the winter. It is this one, two, three punch that maximizes home comfort and energy savings.

The concept of the building envelope as it applies to the entire home itself is crucial. It is the separation of the interior and exterior of a building.  It helps facilitate climate control and protect the indoor environment. In older homes, the cost of energy when they were built was inexpensive, so the focus was not there for proper insulation, ventilation, and sealing. Even in newer homes, adequate insulation and ventilation are not appropriately done or are overlooked. It is in these independent components where you can recoup energy savings by having them inspected by a professional and then addressed accordingly.

Rooms Over an Attached Garage

Next, let us consider the situation with rooms that sit over an attached garage. These rooms tend to be ice cold in winter and too hot in summer. We address this problem by placing multi-layer insulation (eShield, our proprietary brand of radiant insulation) in the garage ceiling with the shiny surface facing the ground. In effect, this becomes the floor of the room above the garage. The radiant heat that is pulled from the MLI keeps the room toasty in winter and radiates the warmth away from the room in summer. The goal is to create an envelope (an envelope within the building envelope as outlined above) of hot or cool air depending upon the season, and it works. There is sometimes ductwork inside the garage that needs to be covered with insulation to keep the cold air or warm air where we want it to stay – inside the ductwork and at the right time of year.

Sound like a solid plan? That’s because it is. The Healthy Attic Plan, from A to Z, consists of eco-friendly products to seal, insulate, and ventilate your attic and garage where applicable, providing the most comfort and energy efficiency for your home. And don’t forget about those tax credits. The Federal Solar Tax Credit for our Solaro Aire solar fans is 26% for the year ending 2020, then dropping to 22% for 2021. New Jersey also has a capital improvement credit for insulation as well, where you can claim up to $500 on your taxes.

Your home is your most significant investment, and where you spend most of your downtime. Let Attics and More show it a little TLC, so wearing three cardigans in winter and dropping ice cubes down the back of your shirt to cool off in summer isn’t the norm anymore.

 

Some people have scenes of wrapping themselves up in warm blankets, nice and cozy, sitting on the sofa, and watching a good movie with a cup of hot chocolate in hand in winter. The mini-marshmallows are a nice plus. Other people are just the opposite, counting down the days until spring arrives. Either way, there is another consideration for you to be thinking about, and that is what is going on above your head in your attic. It is getting cold outside, and the furry critters that want to get warm are looking for a place to call home. Your home.

mice-feces-and-urine

Mouse Feces and Urine

It isn’t just the damage rodents can do with their teeth to your ductwork, electrical wiring, and anything else stored in your attic, but the real health concerns relative to the feces and urine that they are depositing there, not to mention the legion of babies being produced. Attics and More does not claim to be in the pest management business, but we will inspect your attic for signs of these issues so you can have it managed by a proper pest control company. When the pest control company has completed their portion of the work by catching anything that is still alive in your attic and blocking ways for them to return to your warm and inviting home, Attics and More will return and remove the gross and messy insulation that still holds health hazards, sanitize your attic, and place fresh insulation down to make your attic, and by extension the people who reside there, healthy again.

Mice Feces and Chewed Wires

Mice Feces and Chewed Wires

 

mice-chewed-water-piping

Water Piping Chewed by Mice

A standout of our removal process is that we will professionally remove your existing insulation and sanitize the attic. Most insulation companies will skip this step and place new insulation over existing disintegrated and possibly toxic insulation to avoid this mess. Our method is a clean one wherein the equipment is left outside as we remove the debris from inside your home. We take every precaution to ensure cleanliness and the safety of you and our family.

After the sanitization process is complete, we blow in our fiberglass insulation, which is 100 percent recycled and is the only insulation in the world guaranteed to remain at its original R-value level for as long as you own your home. If at any point – for as long as you own your house – your insulation fails to live up to our high standards of energy efficiency, our insulation team will refill your attic to the appropriate level for free. This fresh Johns Manville fiberglass will be at a depth of 15 inches or R-38, which is appropriate for our region. When you invest in this quality product, you can rest assured that you are purchasing insulation that will help increase your home’s energy efficiency, cut down on monthly electric bills, and reduce your carbon footprint.

This approach to an attic infestation is a real win-win for the homeowner having peace of mind that the attic is free from pests and harmful materials in the attic, and can look forward to comfort and energy savings with the installation of our level R-38 blown-in insulation. Attics and More offers complimentary home inspections, so why not let us take a peek in the attic and see what is really going on up there?

Recently I met a man who used to work in the construction business. More specifically, he worked in a niche as a construction “fixer.” His job was to go to newer developments where homeowners had various complaints or problems with their houses, narrow down the issues, itemize them, quote the price to fix the problems, and assist the homeowners by trying to work out solutions with the original developer who built the homes. His story applies to all homes, but I found it ironic that he was experiencing this in newer homes.

While out on a call to a home in winter, he entered the homeowner’s master bedroom. He saw black streaks on the ceiling. He pointed them out to the homeowner and asked if they could take a look in the attic. The homeowner seemed surprised by this and asked him why. My friend said, “Do you know what those streaks of black are on the ceiling?” The homeowner was puzzled and had no idea. My friend said, “That’s mold growing on your ceiling, and I guarantee you that your attic is wet.”

They went up to the attic, icicles were hanging from the attic ceiling, and, sure enough, the attic was also wet. The culprit? There was no ventilation in the attic. It might be hard to believe that icicles can form inside the house, but in many older homes that lack proper insulation and ventilation, the attic can become a magnet for condensation, which will freeze when it gets cold enough and the moisture has nowhere to go. … After a while, this frost builds up to form icicles. Homeowners assume that attic fans are only useful in the summer to move the heat around and keep the attic and home cooler. This could not be further from the truth. While fan ventilation does the trick in summer with the correct type of fan and the fan’s correct placement, it is just as important in winter. In the winter, heat in your home rises – to the attic. With it comes moisture. When attics are not well ventilated, moisture collects in this area of the home. … Adequate attic ventilation allows cool, dry air from outside to come into the attic, while warm, moist air inside the attic can escape.

Attics and More sells solar attic fans that have a lifetime guarantee. They install quickly and are workhorses without tapping into your electrical grid. Some other facts about our fans:

  • They can withstand 150 mph hurricane winds
  • They can withstand golf ball-sized hail
  • We offer a lifetime warranty
  • The flanges are made of a single piece of aircraft quality aluminum
  • They are made in the USA
  • The motor is completely sealed, which means that no dust or moisture can get inside causing the motor to seize and potentially creating a fire hazard
  • They are whisper quiet

Our price not only includes the installation of the new solar fan but the removal of another fan if you have an existing one. Our solar fans also qualify for the federal solar tax credit (26% for year ending 12/31/2020), and we provide the paperwork to you. This credit steadily declines each subsequent year, so it really is in your best interest to purchase a fan now. Our fans are not made in China like those sold in the big box stores, and ours come with a lifetime warranty that cannot be matched.

If you have not had the opportunity to see or have one installed over the hot summer months, now is the time to contact us for a complimentary appointment to see our fans at your home up close and personal, AND take advantage of the highest federal solar tax credit. Let our Attic Specialist stop by to recommend the fan that would best suit your attic based on square footage and roof pitch, so give us a call today at 856-474-2400!