During Central Minnesota winters, a warm attic produces ice dams and represents a major loss of heat in most homes. This is heat that you are paying for when the furnace is running. You will also notice decreased comfort in your home as heated air escapes through the attic, pulling cold air into the living spaces
Proper attic insulation and complete air sealing is the solution
A complete thermal envelope separates every conditioned interior space of your home from outdoor and unconditioned spaces (such as your garage and attic) with a layer of insulation. Every thermal envelope is different. RetroGreen Energy assigns a BPI-certified professional to design and define the ideal thermal envelope for every home.
“Blow and Go” insulation does not complete the thermal envelope
Compare your home to a container in your kitchen. A typical home with average or below average insulation is like a strainer. The spaghetti stays in the bowl, but liquid and air flows through. A home with a complete thermal envelope is like a plastic container with a sealed lid, holding the good stuff in and holding everything else out.
Different Attics types mean different solutions offered.
Ramblers ( Flat attics): These attics are more basic rectangle homes that have typicall air leaks at interior walls and lighting receptacles. Although these attics can be basic, often time’s low roof pitches cause for difficult working conditions for our weatherization experts to navigate the tight soffit areas. RetroGreen Energy
Cape Cod or 1.5 story homes: 4 attics in one house, these types of homes pose the most complexity and require the highest level of knowledge to fix, comfort, ice dams, and moisture concerns.
Cathedral Sloped attics: These areas of a home are often very hard physically examine and work in. RetroGreen Energy has several methods to either inject these hard to reach areas with foam or incorporate a roofing solution from the exterior to solve moisture, heat gain and building durability concerns.
Walk up attics: Many turn of the 20th century two story homes where equipped with a stair well leading up to a floored attic space that was often used for storage space. RetroGreen Energy of offer some unique solution to allow for efficient storage, while not compromising energy loss and comfort. These homes often had ton of energy and comfort sucking air leaks under the floor and poor attic ventilation.
Side attics: These attics are usually off to the side of an upstairs living space. They are often comprised of sloped ceilings, a short knee wall and side attic space sometimes used for storage. These attics are very prevalent with a 1.5 story or Cape Cod home. These attics need a combination of Spray foam, injection foam, advanced air sealing, blown cellulose insulation ventilation upgrades. Preforming these measures well on these homes can dramatically impact the livability of the home.
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You will not have a sealed thermal envelope without advanced air sealing
Bulk insulation – including RetroFoam, spray foam and any existing insulation like fiberglass – is an important part of the thermal envelope. Surprisingly, many homes do not even have this type of insulation defining the boundary. However, even with bulk insulation, you need air sealing to make the insulation effective. Most insulation contractors and homeowners think that just adding insulation on top of the old stuff is the right solution. Unfortunately not sealing these crucial of often times hidden leaks can add to problems such as attic frost in the winter time. These hidden air leaks will saturate the insulation, drastically affect the homes performance and increases risk for mold and building degradation.
We perform detailed air sealing in every attic space we work on. That’s how we can guarantee insulation improvement.
Types of insulation material we use in attics
Cellulose insulation – In order to effectively and economically achieve the EPA-recommended R-50 level of attic insulation, we cover the entire attic with Weatherblanket blown cellulose. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper specially treated to be mold resistant, fire resistant, safe and effective. Using cellulose diverts tons of wastepaper from landfills which makes it an environmentally conscious option.Spray foam insulation – RetroGreen Energy uses InsulBloc seamless spray polyurethane foam insulation (SPF insulation) in attics. This is a highly versatile, closed-cell, spray-in-place foam insulation with outstanding air barrier and moisture barrier qualities. It is sprayed on as a liquid and expands within seconds to form a seamless barrier that fills and seals the entire attic floor.
Duct insulation and attic hatches
RetroGreen Energy can also thoroughly insulate your ducts with spray foam so the system efficiently moves the heat from your furnace to your rooms. It is very common for uninsulated ducts to run through unconditioned areas such as the attic. This is inarguably poor design. What happens is the heat running through these ducts is heating your attic (bad!) and not heating your home (double bad).
Overlooking nothing, we also properly insulate your attic hatch. There is no point to insulating and air sealing if your attic hatch leaks. We are attentive to this detail by fully insulating and sealing the attic hatch. Some older homes do not have an attic access. We are able to build an attic access if you don’t have one. This not only facilitates our work but also makes possible any future projects that require attic access.
Ventilation in your Attic is important
Proper air flow in you attic is important to prevent ice dams and properly exhaust moisture in to attic in the wintertime. Inversely in the summer time, Attic temperature can reach 140 degrees and poorly ventilated attics can allow that heat to drive into the house and force your air conditioner to work overtime.
Often Times bathroom exhaust vents are not properly installed and can add copious amounts of moisture to infiltrate the attic space as well. RetroGreen Energy can easily add a roof mounted exhaust port to correctly direct the warm humid air from showers or cooking out of the house completely.
Also many older styles of architecture did not have a passive ventilation strategy designed into the attic. RetroGreen energy can install gable vents and passive roof vents to encourage an attics ability to exhale any residual heat or moisture. A dry home is a comfortable home.
The RetroGreen process for attic insulation
From start to finish, here’s how the entire process works:
Step 1: We use specialized vacuums to remove old insulation directly to the dumpster
Step 2: Our professional spray-foam installers seal attic bypasses (Air leaks and construction joints with spray foam)
Step 3: Install ventilation at the soffits, gables or roof to ensure proper ventilation of the attic.
Step 4: Cellulose insulation is blown over the entire attic to achieve R-60