Attic air-sealing example: a wide open chase

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This bathroom framing chase is a trouble spot

This bathroom framing chase is a trouble spot

Here’s an example of an all too frequent attic air-sealing defect.  Very often dropped soffits and chases are left open to the attic, providing big connections between the attic, the basement, the framing, and the outside.  A leaky envelope means you’re wasting energy, wasting money, allowing dust and perhaps critters to enter your home, and often creating comfort problems.

In this case, a partition was built out to create the third side of a tub/shower enclosure.  It does work to make the tub fit perfertly between the enclosure wall.   However, when the original carpenter did

As seen in the attic after moving the insulation away, this chase is big enough to stick an arm or a leg into
As seen in the attic after moving the insulation away, this chase is big enough to stick an arm or a leg into
this, he left a big connection to the attic open as you can see in the photo—show the troubled spot after we pulled back the dirty fiberglass  batt.  Again, this is a very common problem.

We fix this by crawling through the attic and sealing the hole with rigid or semi-rigid material.  Here we’ve used foam fan board since the hole was only several inches across.  Larger holes might new something stronger like plywood.  After sealing, the material needs to be strong enough to support the 10-12” of cellulose that we’ll add to the attic.

The hole is sealed with rigid foam and expanding foam.  After sealing other attic leaks, this with be covered with insulation. The hole is sealed with rigid foam and expanding foam. After sealing other attic leaks, this with be covered with insulation.

There are great ways to avoid this when building a new home.  And we can certainly fix the problem in existing homes.  It is important, though, to rid yourself of these issues to ensure you home is comfortable, safe, and efficient.

Thanks,
Mike

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2 Responses to “Attic air-sealing example: a wide open chase”

  1. Small leaks add up to an open “window” all winter long « GreenHomes America Says:

    […] of these. Add to them gaps at interior partition walls, around chimneys, flues, recessed lights, framing chases, and other locations where somebody has left a hole open, and the typical home has an enormous […]

  2. Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Says:

    I stood over one of these chases recently and I could feel a cool breeze. People think because there is a wall below that somehow the chase is sealed. I had not seen the covering sealed with the foam before, but I like that idea. Thank you.

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