Insulating Your Attic and Basement

When it comes to your house, the attic and basement are the most important spaces to keep sealed from air flow and moisture. They are both places where air tends to easily escape. That’s why it’s critical to take extra care in making sure these parts of your house are insulated and well-sealed.

How can you tell if your home needs more insulation?

There are lots of things to check for that are obvious indicators that your house isn’t well-insulated. First, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do you have high heating or air-conditioning bills?
  • Do you have a cold floor in the winter?
  • Do you have certain walls that are especially hot or cold?
  • Do you have ceilings that have dark spots towards the outside walls?
  • Are there certain rooms that are hot or cold or maybe that are draftier than others?
Any of these may indicate that your basement, attic and/or crawl spaces aren’t well protected. To detect less obvious clues, you might need to rely on professionals.

If you’re a handy person and are looking for a DIY project, you may be able to tackle some of these issues yourself. Some problem areas can be resolved by certain kinds of caulks or sealants or insulation available at local stores. However, other problems might require specialized equipment. When addressing air leakage and insulation issues in a home, it’s important to understand how fixes that you make could affect the performance of other systems in your home, like HVAC equipment and ventilation. Failure to consider impacts of other systems could potentially lead to humidity issues or possibly even mold. If you are unsure as to the effect you might have on your home, it might be best to let professionals help resolve these problems.

You also may have a basement or crawlspace that isn’t easily accessible. If you have hard-to-access areas, a good option might be to have contractors use specialized products like spray foam that will fill these hard-to-reach spaces.

There are other reasons you might want to consider hiring professionals to do the job:
  • Do you have high humidity issues and can’t figure out why?
  • Do you have wet or damp conditions, which may indicate a leak?
  • Do you have insect infestations?
  • Are there cracks in the walls of your basement?
It’s important to regularly inspect both your attic and basement to avoid these and other potential problems, such as leaks, condensation, termites and mold growth.

Attics can become really hot in the summer. If you have a ventilated attic and notice condensation in your attic, the best way to prevent this is to remove any source of moisture. Also, make sure there is adequate ventilation and that the ventilation is performing as it should. Do not vent dryers or bathroom fans into your attic; always vent them outside. And check that soffit vents under the eaves haven’t become blocked or obstructed by insulation, dirt or debris.

One of the most common complaints about basements, besides being too cold and drafty, is a leak problem. To avoid this, begin by ensuring that the land around your house is graded so that water is diverted away from your home, not running down toward it. Next, install gutters and add extensions to downspouts. If both of these items have been completed and a leak still exists, you’ll need to contact professionals to see what options are available for your condition.

Converting your basement into another room of the house?

Many people have decided to finish their basements and turn them into additional square footage. If you should decide to turn your basement into a media room, an extra bedroom, etc., you’ll want to have professionals install additional insulation for comfort AND soundproofing. It is very economical and relatively easy to do during the construction phase of the project. However, if it’s not completed during initial construction and there are noise or comfort issues after using the space, it becomes much more difficult and costly to resolve after the fact. So be proactive during the planning phase and consult a professional to help you through the process.

The attic and basement are both places where, if insulated properly, you can save a lot of money on your energy bills. You can also ensure your family has much safer living environment. However, what your family will notice the most is that your home will be a lot more comfortable.

Superior Insealators will work with you to identify the best products and methods for your insulation needs. Contact us today for more information.

Superior Insealators is an ABAA (Air Barrier Association of America) Certified Insulation Contractor.

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