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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.

 

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!

As the housing market begins to recover from the COVID-fueled downturn, many people are just settling into a new house or are seriously considering putting the ole homestead on the market.  

According to Realtor.com: “Buyers are still out shopping for homes, which suggests they think [the recession] is a temporary blip,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. 

With interest rates reaching all-time low (3.07% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan in the week ending July 2), new and prospective homeowners keep the market healthy. In fact, mortgage applications have surged 18.1% annually as of mid-June, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. 

However, new homeowners and house shoppers may want to tread carefully amid all this optimism. Finding the perfect home (not just a house) involves careful investigation, regardless of interest rates. And one of the most vital areas to carefully inspect is right above your head – the attic.  

Attics are sometimes overlooked during the home-buying process – “It’s just a place to store our junk!”  

However, an attic reveals visual cues that point to potential issues with the structural integrity of a house.  

“An attic reflects the history of a home. It can provide clues to serious problems that might not be disclosed or even known by the current owner,” Realtor Elizabeth Weintraub said in a blog post.  

Rafter and truss damage could be a warning sign the households some serious problems. In addition, a closer inspection may reveal substandard wood quality or haphazard construction, and that can lead to leakage and water damage.  

That’s why it’s vital to have your attic inspected by a trained professional. But what will an inspector be well inspecting? Let’s look at some basics.  

Out with the Old 

Nothing scares away potential home buyers more than a house with an old, worn-down look – outdated appliances, period-specific décor (must we discuss the avocado fridges from the 70s?), and decrepit insulation.  

Not only can old insulation ramp up energy costs, but it can also be hazardous to your health! As we learned in our recent blog post, older homes may be rife with unsafe insulation consisting of dangerous material such as vermiculiteasbestos, and, the appropriately scary sounding, Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI). A trained inspector can advise you on your modern, safer options. 

Under-Insulation 

Unless your home is in the top 10-percent in the Awesome Insulation League, your house – old or new – is probably under-insulated. 

The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association estimates around 90 percent of existing U.S. homes are under-insulated.  

“If all U.S. homes were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than 10 percent,” Jonathan Levy, professor of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health, said in an NAIMA statement.  

The U.S. Department of Energy agrees

“Unless your home was specially constructed for energy efficiency, you can probably reduce your energy bills by adding more insulation. Many older homes have less insulation than homes built today, but even adding insulation to a newer home can pay for itself within a few years.” 

So how can you know if your house is under-insulated?  

EnergyStar advises looking for:  

  • “Drafty rooms 
  • Hot or cold ceilings, walls, or whole rooms; uneven temperature between rooms 
  • High heating or cooling bills 
  • Ice dams in the winter” 

Use a ruler to measure the depth of your insulation. From there, you can estimate what’s known as an R-value.  

The energy department adds: “R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation.”  

And Don’t Forget… 

Finally, a professional attic inspector may also check for wildlife damage – that’s right, critters may sneak into your attic looking for a cheap place to crash. Gnawed wiring, shredded paper nests, and feces are a pretty straightforward set of clues that an amateur attic inspector may miss.  

In addition, an inspection may look into proper chimney access and quality, as well as signs of water damage.  

What’s Next?  

Before you sell your home or place a contract on a new buy, it’s a fantastic idea to launch a professional attic inspection.  

Understanding the intricacies of attic quality and insulation gets complicated quickly. An inspection by a qualified attic professional can save time and money.   

Why crawl around a dark, dusty (and maybe spooky!) attic without knowing the warning signs.  

Contact us today to discuss how we will provide the next level in attic inspection for your home – before the SOLD sign goes up.