1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

December 27, 2008

:362 Attic Ice

Filed under: :362 Attic Ice — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 5:08 am

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:362 EcoTip: Winter is a good time to check for attic ice. If it is not coming from leaks or ice dams then there must be excessive moisture coming into the attic from somewhere that is freezing on the cold underside of the roof. It may be that the attic ventilation is inadequate, but is also very likely that a moisture source is releasing moisture into the attic. Double check bathroom, laundry and kitchen vents to be sure they are dumping moisture laden air outside and not into the attic. The air infiltration sealing techniques discussed elsewhere in this blog may also help (search term infiltration).

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Suggested Review:

I inspected one home that was having problems with ice forming in the attic then melting onto the ceiling and walls when the days began to warm. The problem had suddenly developed one year. It turned out that a plumber had pulled the vapor barrier off the soil in the crawlspace to work on the septic line, and had not replace the barrier. The excess moisture coming off the soil was able to infiltrate all the way up through the house into the attic and was  sufficient to cause the problem to develop. Replacing the plastic barrier on the soil solved the problem.

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November 14, 2008

:319 Eave Ventilation

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:319 EcoTip: Insulation in eaves needs to be present to save energy loss and prevent ice dams from forming in areas with snow. If not properly installed the insulation can block the eave vents and prevent proper ventilation of the attic. The following illustration shows one way of insulating while allowing attic ventilation through the eave vents and helping to prevent ice dams from forming.

 185-eave-vent1

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :317, :318

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November 13, 2008

:318 Predict Ice Dams

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:318 EcoTip: Thermal imaging can be used to predict locations on the roof where ice dams are likely to form. The thermal imaging camera is used to locate hot spots. These represent the areas where snow will melt. If the melted snow has to run down an area of roof where the water will refreeze, then the formation of an ice dam becomes more likely.

184-missing-insulation-ir11

Courtesy of MoistureView.com

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :313, :317

The large blue area in the thermal image above represents a cold area with missing insulation where the attic eave vent is located. The heat from the house will escape upwards warming the underside of the roof. If snow is present the extra warmth may cause it to melt and run down the roof onto the cold overhang. If conditions are right the water will refreeze and form a dam that prevents subsequent water flowing downward from draining off the roof. This water can then migrate into the home. This thermal image can be used to predict that water from any ice dam that forms from this missing insulation is more likely to drain down into the wall cavity causing damage.

Tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 EcoTip will show how this eave area could be insulated and ventilated at the same time.

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October 17, 2008

:291 Attic Ventilation

Filed under: :291 Attic Ventilation — Tags: , , , , — John Banta @ 12:18 am
Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.
 
1:5:10:291 EcoTip:  Proper attic ventilation will increase roof life and reduce the chance of developing attic mold. The ventilation requirements for attics vary depending on the climate where the home is located. Assuming your home was built correctly – look for changes that may cause problems. For example leaves and debris may clog attic vent screens. Holes in screens may provide a path for rodent, bird, bat and insect infestations
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 Additional Information:

The following information is from the EPAs EnergyStar Program:

Natural Attic Ventilation

At first it may seem odd to add insulation for warmth and then purposely allow cold air to enter the attic through vents, but this combination is the key to a durable and energy-efficient home. Here’s why: in the winter, allowing a natural flow of outdoor air to ventilate the attic helps keep it cold, which reduces the potential for ice damming (snow that melts off a roof from an attic that is too warm and then re-freezes at the gutters, causing an ice dam that can damage the roof). Proper insulation and air sealing also keeps attics cold in winter by blocking the entry of heat and moist air from below. In the summer, natural air flow in a well-vented attic moves super-heated air out of the attic, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. The insulation will resist heat transfer into the house.

The most common mistake homeowners make when installing insulation is to block the flow of air at the eaves. NEVER COVER ATTIC SOFFIT VENTS WITH INSULATION — use rafter vents and soffit vents to maintain airflow.

For more information about attic ventilation check out Joe Lstiburek’s website. He has several documents posted that discuss attic ventilation requirements for different parts of the country. For example if you live in a hot humid climate – there will be different considerations. http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-102-understanding-attic-ventilation/

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October 16, 2008

:290 Attic Check

Filed under: :290 Attic Check — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:25 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:290 EcoTip: With winter coming, its time to check your attic. If you can’t do this safely or know what you are looking for, it is best to have this done by a professional. If the temperature difference between inside and outside is at least 20 degrees F, then a cold weather thermal imaging of the attic will help to identify problem areas like missing insulation and air infiltration paths. As it gets cooler, it also makes sense to have your attic checked for condensation moisture on the underside of the roof sheathing which can lead to mold growth, material deterioration and a shorter roof life.

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October 13, 2008

:287 Seal Attic Hatch

Filed under: :287 Seal Attic Hatch — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:40 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:287 EcoTip: As you are reviewing your preparations for winter – take a look at the attic access hatch and see if it needs sealing. You can use the techniques in :039 & :040 to look for air flow infiltration. Depending on the type of hatch, you may be able to use weather stripping.

Source: Battic at – http://www.batticdoor.com/atticstairinsulator.html

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :039, :040

Also take a look at the information from Battic. They have kits for sealing attic stairway hatches.

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