Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 by Erin Dougherty
When most people think about insulating their attic, they generally think about insulating their attic floor. This is a great option if you don’t plan to use your attic for storage or don’t have any HVAC equipment in your attic. However, there are more options to consider. Encapsulating your attic from the rafters using Spray Foam, Foam Board, or Dense Packed Cellulose insulation works against the stack effect and the laws of convection to make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient.
The laws of convection cause warm air to rise. As warm air rises it moves through the attic passing through dozens of natural cracks and openings in your home. As this air is lost, it is replaced with new air, pulled in from the crawl space, basement, and outside only to be conditioned and lost again. Basically, you’re paying to heat and cool air that you are losing through your attic. It’s like trying to fill a swimming pool with holes in the bottom. You can keep pumping water in – but it’s never going to stay and you’re just going to keep paying to fill it.
What is attic encapsulation?
Attic encapsulation is a system that seals and insulates your attic to control internal temperature and protect your home from extreme outside temperatures. This process can be completed with Spray Foam, Rigid Foam Board, or Dense Packed Cellulose insulation. This moves the thermal and air barrier of your home from the floor of your attic to your roof deck, making your attic a controlled environment that is good for storage, HVAC equipment, or even to finish it and make it a livable space.
So, why should you encapsulate your attic?
Before insulation, the sun heats up the roof which radiates heat into your attic. Inside your attic, your ductwork bakes, and conditioned air is lost through leaks in your ductwork. Heat also radiates down into your conditioned living space making your home hot and uncomfortable.
After insulation, the sun still heats the roof, but this heat does not radiate into the attic and down into your home. Instead, the roof is vented with cool air, the attic stays much cooler and the temperatures in your living space are more comfortable.
These conditions reverse in the winter resulting in a loss of heat through the roof that is being replaced with cold air entering from the home’s foundation and other first floor openings that make your home drafty.
Insulating from the attic rafters offers several benefits:
Insulating from the rafters is a permanent, one and done, solution that pays for itself in utility bill savings by cutting your heating and cooling bills by up to 25% on average (this varies based on your home and the work you have completed).