Though your attic may look snug and dry from the outside, an energy audit may reveal it’s sucking up heated air through your second-floor ceiling through dozens of small cracks and holes. These attic air leaks hike your energy bills and cost you money every time a Cleveland lake-effect winter rolls around. You can fix these leaks yourself with a Saturday afternoon and a few supplies from the home-improvement store.
Step One: Make a Map
Sketch a basic floor plan of your house before you ascend into the attic. Mark any soffits (lower or sloped ceiling areas that often contain open stud cavities where air leaks are common) and the area around the chimney or main plumbing flue.
Step Two: Turn Up the Pressure
Place a box fan (available at any big-box retailer or hardware store) in an open window, then seal the cracks around the fan with duct tape. Close all the other doors and windows and turn the fan on high, blowing inward, so your house fills with air. Once you’re in the attic, you should be able to feel the air blowing where you have leaks.
Step Three: Plug the Holes
Jump into a pair of coveralls and make sure you’ll have easy access to your materials. Wearing gloves and a mask, look for soffits over bathrooms, kitchens, or any other dropped ceilings. Scoop out the insulation (as long as it’s asbestos-free) and seal any leaks, then put the insulation back in place. Wrap the chimney or flue with reflective aluminum that seals the area where the flue meets the floorboard. Fill small leaks around wires with expanding foam or caulk.
Step Four: Step Up Your Safety
Whenever you do anything that affects your home’s airflow, it’s wise to check the house for harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. You can also hire an HVAC professional to test the air levels in your home.
For more information on attic air leaks, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing. We can walk you through the process in more detail or come out to take a look when you’re finished. Once you’ve sealed your leaks, you’re well on your way to winterizing your Northeast Ohio home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about sealing attic air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
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