Case Studies

Attic Insulation Case Studies: Making a Home in New London, CT More Comfortable Year Round

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 by Korrin Leslie

Challenge

Superior Home Performance was called out to a home in New London, CT because it was extremely cold and losing a lot of energy. Michael Jensen did a total home evaluation and found that a large portion of heat the homeowner was paying for was leaking into a poorly insulated attic. There were recessed can lights in the ceiling with the housing of the fixtures exposed in the attic, resulting in heat escaping from the conditioned space of the home through all the can light penetrations into the unconditioned attic space. The same concept was happening with the chimney chase. The hole where the chimney enters into the attic was bigger than the chimney, this chase ran from the basement all the way to the attic, therefore, heat from the home was just pouring through the chase into the attic. Once heat enters the unconditioned, vented attic, it is lost and not coming back. These leaks were essentially making the homeowner pay to heat the outside of the home! There were more leaks found in the ducts of the heating system. The ducts were poorly insulated and the heat running through the the ducts was being lost. Due to the ducts being exposed to the harsh environment of an unconditioned attic, the poorly insulated ducts were in temperatures as low as -30 degrees in the winter and as high as 120 degrees in the summer. The cold temperatures of the winter cools the ducts which ultimately cools the heat the homeowner paid for before it even enters the conditioned space of the home. The attic floor had old, dirty fiberglass batt insulation that was not doing its job anymore. Where there were leaks and penetrations in the ceiling and the top plates, Michael could see dark areas on the insulation. As the warm air filters through the fiberglass insulation escaping into the attic, dust is left behind which were the dark areas Michael noticed on the insulation. None of the penetrations in the attic were sealed and the r-value of the insulation was not up to par; consequently, not keeping the energy in the conditioned space. Michael knew now how he could help this homeowner save energy and make the home warmer.

 

Solution

The production crew was set out to the home in New London, CT that was freezing cold and losing energy. They first removed all of the old, dirty insulation and disposed of it properly and safely. They then sealed all of the leaks in the top plates and attic floor with expanding one-part polyurethane ZYPFoam. For the leaks around the recessed can lights and chimney chase other exclusive products needed to be used. To safely insulate around the recessed can lights they needed to be covered and sealed. The crew used mineral wool, non combustible TiteShell can light covers that are designed to stop air leaks and keep insulation away from light fixtures. The TiteShell covers are secured and sealed with ZYPFoam, making an airtight seal. For the chimney chase the crew first flashed the space between the wood framing and the masonry with metal chimney flashing, which they then sealed with special high temperature caulk. The caulking used must be a high temperature fire caulk to meet Fire and Safety codes. Superior Home Performance uses an exclusive Fire Seal caulk that meets and exceeds ASTM-E136 and ASTM-E814. The leaky ducts were then fully sealed and insulated with expanding two-part, closed cell ZYPFoam. All of this sealing in the attic will now prevent energy from escaping into unconditioned space, allow for safe installation of insulation, and also keep the ducts protected against the hostile environment of the attic. The last thing that needed to be done in the attic to make sure it was at highest efficiency level, was to insulate. Superior Home Performance blew-in TruSoft Cellulose to an R-Value of 60. TruSoft Cellulose is an exclusive product that is more dense and effective at stopping air leakage than fiberglass. TruSoft Cellulose is high in recycled material, inorganic, treated with borate making the TruSoft Cellulose fire, mold, insect, and rodent resistant. With the prevention of convective and conductive energy and heat loss this homeowner was experiencing, they are now saving energy and are much warmer. Superior Home Performance has provided superior comfort and savings to this New London, CT home!

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Superior Home Performance LLC
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