Tag Archives: attic

Working Safely in the Attic

Working Safely in the AtticIf any of your summer projects involve working in the attic, take special care to be safe in this area of your home. Working in the attic presents conditions and challenges that you won’t find elsewhere.

 

Here are some suggestions for staying safe during attic projects:

  • Prepare your tools and supplies. Space will be limited in the attic, so prepare your tools and materials in advance so that you’ll know what you’re taking with you. Put tools in a belt or a small toolbox. Having the exact tools you need will save time and prevent the need for frequent trips up and down the ladder to the attic.
  • Put on protective clothing. Attics are going to be filled with dust, particles of insulation, and other material that can irritate your skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, gloves, and even a cap to keep insulation off your skin and out of your hair. Wear kneepads if you’ll be kneeling on joists or beams. Make sure your work boots have sufficient tread to give you good traction. If possible, wear coveralls or other overgarment, or old clothing that can be disposed of when you’re done.
  • Wear a respirator and goggles. The particulates in your attic can also be damaging to your eyes and lungs, so wear goggles and a respirator to prevent exposure. If you don’t have a respirator available, a cloth or paper mask may be sufficient to protect you for short periods.
  • Beware of the heat. Attics can get extremely hot in the summer, particularly those with little or no insulation. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels quickly if direct sunlight is hitting the roof. Work on cool days or in the mornings or at night when the outdoor temperatures are lower. Otherwise, take frequent breaks, including a few outside the attic area, to avoid being overwhelmed by the heat.

You should also beware of clutter too close to any HVAC equipment in your attic. Ideally to properly service and maintain a safe operating zone around your HVAC equipment you should leave at least 18″-24″ of walk space all around the unit. If you have walk boards from the attic access to the equipment you should make sure that the walk boards are clear of obstruction to make it safe for both you and any contractors who may be called to work in that space.

 

Since 2001, Powers Heating and Air has been a top choice for HVAC sales, service, and installation in Peachtree City, Sharpsburg, Newnan and the neighboring communities. Contact us today for more information on how to be safe when working in your home’s attic.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

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Tips for Detecting Air Leaks in Your House

Tips for Detecting Air Leaks in Your HouseIn a perfect world, we’d all schedule professional energy audits regularly in our homes to find energy leaks. In the real world, however, a professional energy audit isn’t always within our budgets. So, we’re faced with the do-it-yourself route when it comes to correcting air leaks.

Why Locate Leaks?

The Department of Energy cites air leaks as the major source of energy losses in homes. Conditioned air escapes through air leaks, while unconditioned air finds its way inside, undermining our cooling and heating efforts. Some of the major sites for leaking air:

  • Under doors
  • Around door and window frames
  • Through hung windows
  • Around baseboards
  • Through attic hatch doors and around frames
  • Through any holes to the outside, such as those for pipes, wires and cables
  • Switch plates and plugs
  • Recessed lighting
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Vents and flues
  • Dryer vents
  • Mail slots

Outdoors, the major leak sites are faucets, exterior corners and where the foundation and siding/brick meet.

 

You can find places where air is leaking by visual inspection, checking for gaps or holes, or by lighting an incense stick and waving it in front of suspected leak sites. If the smoke wavers, air is leaking.

Fixing Leaks

Apply the following fixes to leaks:

  • Weatherstripping around attic hatches and on doors
  • Weatherstripping between hung windows
  • Caulk or weatherstripping around baseboards
  • Caulk around door and window frames
  • Door sweep under doors
  • Insulation and weatherstripping around pipes, wires and cables entering from the outdoors
  • Foam gaskets behind switchplates and electric plugs
  • Specially made heat-resistant insulation boxes around recessed lighting in the attic
  • Metal collar around flues in the attic, plus heat-resistant caulk
  • Weatherstripping or caulk around dryer vents and mail slots

In addition, insulate all exterior faucets. Apply caulking and weatherstripping around mail slots and foundation seals. Make sure caulking around exterior door frames is in good shape.

 

If you’d like to know more about detecting and fixing air leaks in your home, contact Powers Heating and Air. We provide Peachtree City and the surrounding area with expert heating and cooling services and installation.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

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The Best Spots to Insulate in Your Home

The Best Spots to Insulate in Your HomeEven in a moderate climate like Peachtree City’s, improving your insulation is an effective way to keep your home more a comfortable temperature all year. Learning the best areas to insulate before you start will help you get the most out of your efforts.

Attic

The sun shining down on your roof can raise your attic temperature to over 100 degrees even on mildly warm days. That heat then radiates into your rooms, increasing the load on your air conditioner. In winter, the warmth from your heating system naturally rises and can slip away into your attic and out through your roof.

 

Air sealing and adding insulation to your attic reduces this type of energy loss. In the Peachtree City area, an attic should have an R30 to R60 layer of insulation, which is at least 9 inches of fiberglass batts.

 

Laying batt insulation is a simple DIY job. While loose-fill (blown-in) insulation is somewhat more efficient because it fills in small crevices, you’ll need a blower machine to install it.

Ducts

Insulation on your air ducts helps maintain the temperature of the air inside so it’s the right temperature when it reaches your rooms. If the ducts in unconditioned spaces, such as the attic, aren’t well insulated, they can lose or gain heat from the surrounding air. Adding an R-6 layer of duct wrap or batt insulation reduces this loss. First, though, make sure the duct joints are correctly air sealed.

Walls

Your exterior walls are also among the most important areas to insulate. If you’re planning on replacing your siding, consider installing an R-5 layer of insulative sheathing under it. Otherwise, adding loose-fill insulation is the easiest way to increase the energy efficiency of your walls. This type of insulation can be added through a relatively small hole, so your walls won’t have to be torn out.

Basement

For another simple way to boost your home’s efficiency, insulate your rim joists using rigid foam insulation and caulk.

 

Want more tips on identifying the best areas to insulate? Contact us at Powers Heating & Air in Peachtree City.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

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How Much Money and Energy Does Your Attic Waste?

How Much Money and Energy Does Your Attic Waste?In a warm climate like Peachtree City’s, it’s not always obvious how much the attic can affect a home’s energy efficiency. Understanding how your attic could be costing you is the first step in solving the problem.

Leaking Air

Attics are often full of tiny cracks and gaps that let air pass. In summer, leaks let hot, humid air seep into your living space. In winter, the warm air in your rooms naturally rises toward your ceilings. Leaks let that air escape into the attic and out through the roof. You can stop the leaks by using weatherstripping, caulk, and metal flashing as necessary to seal around:

  • The access hatch
  • Pipe and wiring holes
  • Vent stacks and chimneys
  • Recessed lights and dropped soffits
  • Kneewalls

Escaping Heat

When your attic heats up in warm weather, insulation slows the rate at which heat radiates into your rooms, keeping your house cooler. In winter, insulation helps hold warmth in your rooms and keeps it out of your attic.

If you can see your attic’s floor joists, you need more insulation. In the Peachtree City area, you’ll want to have an R-30 to R-60 layer of insulation. That’s between 12 to 24 inches of fiberglass batts.

To further reduce heat gain, consider having a radiant barrier added. These barriers, which are installed on your attic’s ceiling, are made of material that reflects heat away from your house. They can reduce your cooling costs by 5 to 10 percent.

Lack of Ventilation

Attics need ventilation to provide the amount of airflow that lets them maintain the ideal temperature and humidity levels. Without good ventilation, summertime heat will build up and radiate into your living space. In winter, ventilation removes excess moisture which would otherwise encourage mold and rot. If you have either ridge or soffit vents, but not both, or you have a gable fan on only one side, consult a professional about optimizing the ventilation.

For help improving your home’s energy efficiency, get in touch with us at Powers Heating & Air in Peachtree City.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

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Radiant Barriers in the Attic Can Prevent Heat and Humidity

Radiant Barriers in the Attic Can Prevent Heat and HumidityA radiant barrier keeps your house cooler by keeping radiant heat out of your attic. A major source of household heat infiltration is often the overheated attic just the other side of your ceiling.

 

Temperatures inside an enclosed attic increase on a sunny summer day as solar heat penetrates the roof and heats air trapped in the attic. Attic temperatures can soar as high as 150 degrees. This reservoir of heat radiates through the ceiling into cooler living spaces. The influence of attic heat can raise temperatures in rooms directly below by as much as 10 degrees. This, in turn, causes your air conditioner to run longer cycles to maintain thermostat settings, increasing your monthly cooling costs.

 

Attic insulation helps impede attic heat passing through the ceiling. However, insulation can’t prevent radiant heat from over-heating the attic in the first place. A radiant barrier is a foil-coated material typically stapled to roof joists within a few inches of the underside of the roof. Alternatively, the material may be draped across the joists in the floor of the attic, atop existing insulation. Radiant energy entering through the roof is reflected back into the roof sheathing and then re-radiates to the exterior. This helps moderate attic temperatures.

 

In addition to reducing the attic heat load, a radiant barrier benefits your household comfort and efficiency in two other ways:

  • Insulation performs more effectively when it is kept cooler. Utilizing a radiation barrier to reduce the air temperature inside the attic helps your existing attic insulation do a better job of reducing heat transfer through the ceiling.
  • Moderating attic temperatures by blocking radiant energy infiltration also reduces condensation produced when an overheated attic cools at night. Condensation soaking attic insulation substantially reduces its insulating value, allowing more heat to infiltrate living spaces through the ceiling.

Contact the professionals at Powers Heating & Air for more about the benefits of a radiant barrier to keep your attic cooler and reduce household heat gain.

 

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about TOPIC and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.

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