Did you take a look around when you put your holiday decorations away? No? Color me surprised.
But you’re not alone. Attics are often a very mysterious place for homeowners. Think of it this way: your attic is your first line of defense from the cold of winter and the heat of summer. So it’s important to take care of it, just like you would any other part of your home that’s more visible.
Here are five things that you need to know about your attic. Energy auditors look for these things every time they enter a home and here’s the good news: if your attic is found lacking, it’s usually an easy fix.
1. Insulation should be laid out evenly and without gaps. It doesn’t work the way it’s designed to if it’s not covering the entire attic floor, like how your toes will be cold if they’re sticking out from under your blanket.
2. It’s a bad sign if your insulation is dark and discolored. This means that dirt is being deposited in your insulation as air blows through it. If air is blowing through your insulation, then you know your attic floor is leaky. If your attic floor is leaky, then you know the air you’re paying to heat and cool is escaping your living space, leading to you paying more in utilities!
3. You should be able to see these things stapled to the eaves. They prevent insulation from blocking up your soffits which are necessary for good airflow through your attic. Believe it or not, you want your attic to be ventilated, as long as the attic floor is sealed up tight to prevent outside air from getting into your living area.
5. Seen any of this? They’re a safety hazard. Recessed lights get hot and if they’re in contact with insulation can potentially cause a fire. Either have a qualified installer box them up or install recessed LED fixtures instead. LED fixtures tuck completely out of the way, don't generate unwanted heat and can have insulation installed snugly, and safely, around them.
4. Your bathroom exhaust fans should be vented ALL THE WAY OUT of your attic. The whole idea of these vents is to get the moisture out of the air created by your hot shower, so why would you want that moisture hanging around in your attic?
Our mission at greeNEWit, LLC is to help you be a better homeowner by providing expert advice on what goes on behind the walls and behind the scenes. When you’re paying attention to your home’s maintenance and energy usage, you’re helping to reduce waste and pollution, which adds up toward reducing society’s impact on the environment.
About Julie Roby, Director of Residential Energy Solutions at greeNEWit
Julie gets out of bed every day with the goal of making incremental progress toward fighting the effects of climate change. In her career at greeNEWit, she does that by helping commercial and residential property owners retrofit their buildings to use less energy, but she knows that's not the reason every client decides to take action - and that's ok! She knows energy auditing and retrofitting can help solve other problems too, whether it's concern about high utility bills, annoyance that rooms are too hot or too cold or worries about indoor air quality. When she's not working toward a future where sustainable communities rule, she plans her wedding to her dreamy fiancé, plays tennis or enjoys going to D.C. museums.
greeNEWit is the national leader in sustainable community development and smart grid integration. The firm develops, manages, and implements net-zero trajectory assets to help make communities more resilient, sustainable, and economically prosperous. By working with residential, multifamily, and commercial real estate, greeNEWit has an expansive perspective on how energy end-users understand, interact, and engage with their energy profile. With clients that include some of the most successful developers and managers of student, military, and multi-family housing, greeNEWit is a tech-enabled service business in the growing clean-tech space. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, greeNEWit is expanding nationwide. For more information, visit: www.greeNEWit.com.