As home performance contractors we seem to be running into a common theme with homeowners that have already added insulation to their homes. The theme is that they have hired a company to upgrade their insulation, and that company does not understand how insulation works. They may be a handyman, they may be a general contractor, or they may be an outright highly experienced insulation company. What mistakes are these companies that have years and years of experience making when they are adding insulation to homes?? They are not air sealing before they are insulating.
Imagine for a minute that you went outside in the middle of winter with a wool sweater on. You would be very cold, because the wool sweater cannot block airflow. It can't keep the cold air out or the warm air in. However, if you were to put on the thinnest windbreaker you could find, you would be able to block the heat from escaping and block the wind from blowing right through your sweater. Your Insulation is like your sweater, air moves right through it. However, York Home Performance has completed hundreds of energy audits, and not one home who had insulation upgrades had the area air sealed. Let's take your attic for example, below are two Infrared pictures of the attic standing in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms.
One picture is of an attic that has 20 inches of insulation, and the other is of an attic that has 5 inches. Notice anything? They look the same right? It comes back to the fact that insulation will not stop airflow. It wouldn't matter if an attic had 4 feet of insulation dumped into it, it will look the same as the one with 5 inches.
York Home Performance has upgraded the insulation levels of home's all throughout York County, and we always air seal the attic or any area before adding insulation. It is the most important part about adding insulation. It is also what takes the majority of the time. It is the "prep work" to adding insulation to a home.
Also see the blog post Air Sealing. Have you recently added insulation to your home and not notice any difference. Do you have the same cold and hot rooms, same high energy bills, no real difference? Call York Home Performance and receive a home energy audit. We'll be able to properly identify whether or not your attic was air sealed before the insulation was upgraded. Or, if you're interested in upgrading the insulation in your home, have an energy audit first. We'll make sure that your investment goes further.
Remember insulation is like a wool sweater on a cold windy day.....