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Air Sealing Electrical Outlets


Homeowners across the U.S. tend to mistakenly believe that proper attic insulation is only adequate in the cold regions of the country, to maintains the home's heat. Larry Janesky, founder of Dr. Energy Saver explains that insulation is also needed in warmer areas. Insulation prevents heat transfer. It prevents hot air from being transferred to the outside in the wintertime, and prevents the attic's scorching heat from being transferred into the living areas of your home during the summer. In doing so, you are considerably relieving the burden on your air conditioner systems.


Insulation Resists Heat Flow

Insulation Resists Heat Flow

Why, does an attic in Florida, with its warm climate, need insulation? I mean we want to keep the heat out of the building. Well, insulation resists heat flow. It could be in a northern climate, heat from inside the house to the outside, or in a southern climate heat from, this blazing hot roof radiating down into the house through the ceiling. We need insulation to stop that heat gain, which is why we run our air conditioning, to get rid of the excess heat. So a radiant barrier, properly insulated attic, properly sealed and insulated ducts, properly air sealed attic before it is insulated is the way to go.


Air Sealing

Air Sealing

We are going to dig through all this blown in insulation, which was really poorly installed by someone in the past, and we are going to find all the top plates to the walls. This is the top of an interior wall, and here is the drywall that comes across the ceiling and this gap. We have about a 16th of an inch gap coming between the drywall and the wall for wires. You can see there is wire here and there are some wires here, with a hole about 7/8th of an inch wide and the wires are smaller than that so we have air space.


Uncontrolled Air Leakage

Uncontrolled Air Leakage

Uncontrolled air leakage in our house is something that we have to address in order to make a home more energy efficient. Okay, here we have something that is fairly common. There is a chase in this case, a plumbing chase; we have duct chases that are just like this in homes. There is a big hole where air from the inside of the house can get right up into the attic, when this attic heats up to 140 degress that is basically hot air bisecting the middle of the house and heating up the walls. This is going to have to be air sealed to make this house energy efficient.


Real Full Video Transcript Below:

Usually, we associate insulation with keeping homes warm and keeping the heat in. Well, is insulation necessary in a climate like Florida? Absolutely, insulation resist heat flow and when our attic bakes to 130 or 140 degress in the summer time; that heat will radiate down into the living space causing a big load on our air conditioning system and creates an uncomfortable home. We can reduce that with insulation. Let's take a look. Here we are in the attic of this Florida home and one thing that we see, which is a bit unusual in Florida, is that there is some insulation.

Why, does an attic in Florida, with its warm climate, need insulation? I mean we want to keep the heat out of the building. Well, insulation resists heat flow. It could be in a northern climate, heat from inside the house to the outside, or in a southern climate heat from, this blazing hot roof radiating down into the house through the ceiling. We need insulation to stop that heat gain, which is why we run our air conditioning, to get rid of the excess heat. So a radiant barrier, properly insulated attic, properly sealed and insulated ducts, properly air sealed attic before it is insulated is the way to go.

What we are going to do here is all those things. All homes, no matter what climate they are in, should be air sealed so we don't have excessive air exchange from inside to outside. Some parts of the house are under positive pressure and some are under negative pressure, and air will move through a hole depending on the amount of difference in pressure. We need to air seal this house as the first step to make it energy efficient. And where would we air seal? Well, there are lots of places to air seal and the attic is our "A" priority at Dr. Energy Saver. We are going to dig through all this blown in insulation, which was really poorly installed by someone in the past, and we are going to find all the top plates to the walls. This is the top of an interior wall, and here is the drywall that comes across the ceiling and this gap. We have about a 16th of an inch gap coming between the drywall and the wall for wires. You can see there is wire here and there are some wires here, with a hole about 7/8th of an inch wide and the wires are smaller than that so we have air space.

Now, what happens when air leaks through this hole? Well, in the winter time if air leaks out of the house well then we have got to have air leak into the house somewhere else and where else would it leak in. Well, downstairs through windows and doors and holes in the walls and if there was a basement, or crawl space, certainly big air leakage in basements and cross spaces. So, air from the outside has to come into the house to replace the air that left and guess what, that air is unconditioned air, meaning we have to heat it or cool it to make it more comfortable. If air leaks into this hole, well then it is going to be blazing hot attic air in the summer time here in Florida, or could be freezing cold air. So, we are going to have to either heat or cool that air.

Uncontrolled air leakage in our house is something that we have to address in order to make a home more energy efficient. Okay, here we have something that is fairly common. There is a chase in this case, a plumbing chase; we have duct chases that are just like this in homes. There is a big hole where air from the inside of the house can get right up into the attic, when this attic heats up to 140 degress that is basically hot air bisecting the middle of the house and heating up the walls. This is going to have to be air sealed to make this house energy efficient. Someone had blown in fiberglass insulation into this attic in the past, but paid no attention to this. And this is typical of what an insulation contractor would do. Just go in, it is easy to blow insulation. That is the easy part and they will come in and they will blow insulation in your attic and it will take an hour and they will be gone. You will be left with this, but you have all these air leaks underneath the insulation that allow the conditioned air from inside the house to leak out of the attic.

Now it is more difficult for us to go in and do the job properly because we have to dig through all this insulation to find every pipe and wire hole, every plumbing and duct chase, every top lay of interior walls and every can light, to try to air seal the house properly before it is insulated which is the way it should be done. Insulation without air sealing is malpractice. If you like to make your home more comfortable, more energy efficient and improve your indoor air quality, call Dr. Energy Saver, we would love to help you.

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