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Old 10-22-2018, 09:54 AM   #1
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Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


Hi there,

This past weekend I had a handyman come and install me a washroom fan. As he went into my attic he noticed and pointed out to me that I have no insulation (Besides the vinyl exterior) on the back and front side of the attic. You can see the pictures that the sun is penetrating and there is no insulation. He also said there was no insulation on the side of my house towards the wall that seperates my house and my neighbor's house, (I'm in the middle of a 3 row townhouse, I'll add a picture if it may help).

Do you guys recommend I add some type of insulation on these spots? That pink stuff or wood or both? Or was it left this way on purpose by the people who constructed the house so the attic can get more ventilation (does that sound ridiculous?). Can you guys recommend me a way to go about this? I also had blown insulation (cellulose?) put in 3 years ago when I bought the house to reach R50 I believe, what do you guys think of this insulation?

This was a report by an inspector and/or from a government worker, make sense?

Attic Insulation
In addition to reducing energy use, increasing the insulation
level of your attic will keep your house warmer during the
winter and cooler during the summer. Effective insulation and
air sealing slow the movement of heat and air, and help
prevent moisture accumulation in the attic.
When insulating attics, the importance of air sealing cannot be
overstated. Before insulating, seal all openings and
penetrations to stop interior air from entering the attic. Seal
gaps around ceiling light fixtures, plumbing stacks, wiring,
chimneys and the tops of interior walls. Install weatherstripping
around the hatch or door, and use hooks with eye bolts or a
latch to hold the hatch firmly against the weatherstripping.
Ensure that soffit venting is not blocked by the insulation.
Baffles may need to be installed against the underside of the
roof along the soffits to ensure proper ventilation.
As is important with the installation of all products, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and check with your
local building authorities for information on fire safety requirements. Do not install insulation or flammable
material against or over heat sources, such as masonry or metal chimneys and recessed lighting fixtures.
Consult with chimney experts regarding appropriate barriers to keep adequate clearance to these structures
before beginning air sealing and insulating the attic area.
For more information on insulating attics, consult NRCan’s publication entitled Keeping the Heat In, and
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s About Your House and Renovating for Energy Savings fact
sheets (find Web links in Section 7).
Grant Eligibility RÉNOclimat:
Note that you must insulate a minimum of 20 percent of your ceiling area to qualify. The grant amount varies
according to the existing insulation value, the amount of insulation that is added and the ceiling area that is
insulated. For more information, refer to the brochure entitled Normative Framework Rénoclimat Program.
Recommendation:
The insulation in the attic at the time of the evaluation was approximately R-20. This insulation value is below
today's standards. I recommend upgrading the insulation of the Ceiling/Attic to reach a minimum of R-50.
Attached Thumbnails
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Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior-house-exterior-2.jpg  

Last edited by easywolf32; 10-22-2018 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:04 AM   #2
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


I didn't read the whole report but any sealing that is talked about will be from the ceiling into the attic, Wire, lights, plumbing and vent pipes all have room around them that leak warm moist air into the attic, that should all be sealed.
Venting the attic is from the soffit to the peak so dry air can travel thru and remove heat and moisture., The gables and at ends of the roof do not need to be insulated.
A wall between your house and the house next door in the attic does not need insulation but a newer house would be covered with drywall with the seams taped for fire protection.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:18 AM   #3
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nealtw View Post
I didn't read the whole report but any sealing that is talked about will be from the ceiling into the attic, Wire, lights, plumbing and vent pipes all have room around them that leak warm moist air into the attic, that should all be sealed.
Venting the attic is from the soffit to the peak so dry air can travel thru and remove heat and moisture., The gables and at ends of the roof do not need to be insulated.
A wall between your house and the house next door in the attic does not need insulation but a newer house would be covered with drywall with the seams taped for fire protection.
Hi Nealtw,

Would you recommend I don't do anything than? It looks ok to you? Because we've been waking up with sore throats (On the 2nd or top floor) and anywhere near walls it feels kind of cold.

I ordered an BLACK+DECKER TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector also to check for air leaks, etc.

Thank you very much for taking some time to reply to me.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:30 AM   #4
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


Quote:
Originally Posted by easywolf32 View Post
Hi Nealtw,

Would you recommend I don't do anything than? It looks ok to you? Because we've been waking up with sore throats (On the 2nd or top floor) and anywhere near walls it feels kind of cold.

I ordered an BLACK+DECKER TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector also to check for air leaks, etc.

Thank you very much for taking some time to reply to me.
You are seeing light there because there is no sheeting between the truss and the siding, that is common in some places.
It is unclear how your attic is vented, but I didn't see a problem with the pictures you posted. The attic is supposed to stay cold in the winter.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:38 AM   #5
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


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You are seeing light there because there is no sheeting between the truss and the siding, that is common in some places.
It is unclear how your attic is vented, but I didn't see a problem with the pictures you posted. The attic is supposed to stay cold in the winter.
Dang, ok. I just find it weird I'm protected by a sheet of vinyl in an area where it can get to -50c or -58F in the winter and up to 40c or 105F in the summer.

I don't put anything on the sides either? the seperation between me and my neighbor? I'd just feel better if I had some cover over those vinyl sheets though lol.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:47 AM   #6
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


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Originally Posted by easywolf32 View Post
Dang, ok. I just find it weird I'm protected by a sheet of vinyl in an area where it can get to -50c or -58F in the winter and up to 40c or 105F in the summer.

I don't put anything on the sides either? the seperation between me and my neighbor? I'd just feel better if I had some cover over those vinyl sheets though lol.
The attic is part of the house but it is not in the envelope that you live in. Anything outsides the envelope wants to be close to outside temp.


Like I said a newer house would have fire protection right to the roof but that would change how the venting works in that house so little changes can cause big problems if all the systems are not understood to start with.
As long as you are not seeing moisture and mold in the attic it is likely OK. Weather strip on the access door to the attic is always a good idea at well as insulation on the other side of that door.
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:09 AM   #7
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


Hi easywolf, I jumped over the long post to see what was going on. I can add a few points but will go back to the top and read (I'm lazy).

Be back shortly, lunch first.

Saw the temps, what is your approximate location, may already have been stated.

Bud
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:34 AM   #8
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


I should have mentioned that Bud would be along shortly.
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:05 PM   #9
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


Ok, finished reading. As Neal said, in terms of energy the "vinyl siding only" on the gable ends is not a problem. They did it on purpose to save money, theirs not yours. Between your attic and the neighbors, Neal covered that.

What caught my eye was this, "Because we've been waking up with sore throats (On the 2nd or top floor) and anywhere near walls it feels kind of cold." That is telling you there is a lot of air leakage going on.

Now, bear with me here as most home owners do not like to hear how leaky their homes are. A standard target for leakage is a complete air exchange every 3 hours and yours is leaking more than that. When cold outside air comes in you heat it up to room temperature and it gets extremely dry.

Your thermal spot meter may help you locate some leaks so here are some tips. Normal leakage, when it is cold outside will be cold air coming in the lower portions of the house while warm air is forced up and out the upper portions. Near the middle it becomes hard to see the leakage and it is difficult to identify air leaking out from the inside. Go to the attic to see what is coming through the ceiling.

You can also enhance the leakage by turning on all exhaust appliances, dryer, kitchen hood, and bath fans. Or you can reverse the flow by using a large window fan blowing into the house.

Later
Bud
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Old 10-22-2018, 01:18 PM   #10
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Ok, finished reading. As Neal said, in terms of energy the "vinyl siding only" on the gable ends is not a problem. They did it on purpose to save money, theirs not yours. Between your attic and the neighbors, Neal covered that.

What caught my eye was this, "Because we've been waking up with sore throats (On the 2nd or top floor) and anywhere near walls it feels kind of cold." That is telling you there is a lot of air leakage going on.

Now, bear with me here as most home owners do not like to hear how leaky their homes are. A standard target for leakage is a complete air exchange every 3 hours and yours is leaking more than that. When cold outside air comes in you heat it up to room temperature and it gets extremely dry.

Your thermal spot meter may help you locate some leaks so here are some tips. Normal leakage, when it is cold outside will be cold air coming in the lower portions of the house while warm air is forced up and out the upper portions. Near the middle it becomes hard to see the leakage and it is difficult to identify air leaking out from the inside. Go to the attic to see what is coming through the ceiling.

You can also enhance the leakage by turning on all exhaust appliances, dryer, kitchen hood, and bath fans. Or you can reverse the flow by using a large window fan blowing into the house.

Later
Bud
Hey Bud! loving this forum, You and Neal are great to talk too, so thanks for giving me all the info.

Ok, concerning this: Between your attic and the neighbors, Neal covered that.
Did you mean this part:
The gables and at ends of the roof do not need to be insulated.
A wall between your house and the house next door in the attic does not need insulation but a newer house would be covered with drywall with the seams taped for fire protection.

So, do I do anything here, like add drywall? No, correct? This house is just north of Montreal, in Canada, also the house was built in 1997.

Concerning this: Now, bear with me here as most home owners do not like to hear how leaky their homes are. A standard target for leakage is a complete air exchange every 3 hours and yours is leaking more than that. When cold outside air comes in you heat it up to room temperature and it gets extremely dry.

I should mention I have an air exchanger in my house, and now I just put it on a timer, to start every 6 hours for 30 mins, as to not let in too much cold air, if that makes sense. And yes it gets very dry in my house in the winter, to the point where you get static shocks when touching certain things.

Concerning this: Your thermal spot meter may help you locate some leaks so here are some tips. Normal leakage, when it is cold outside will be cold air coming in the lower portions of the house while warm air is forced up and out the upper portions. Near the middle it becomes hard to see the leakage and it is difficult to identify air leaking out from the inside. Go to the attic to see what is coming through the ceiling.

Yeah, can't wait for this to come ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ) curious to see what it will find and where.

Last night, in the middle and main foor, we were feeling cool air in front of the main entrance door, but not from the bottom of the door (I just had new weatherstripping added/changed) but from somewhere in the middle, or around 1-2 feet off the ground, it was weird. We could not guess or find where it was coming from.

I'll report back when that thermal scanner thingy comes and see what I find! If you think there's anywhere I should be adding insulation too or anything until than let me know! Thanks guys!

PS> Those temperatures I wrote were extremes, rarities, think of our temp here as something similar to Buffalo or upsate NY.

Last edited by easywolf32; 10-22-2018 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 10-22-2018, 03:41 PM   #11
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Re: Help with Attic Insulation Vinyl Exterior


In regards to the air exchanger, in some cases they install them because codes say to. In reality the house should be tested to see if one is needed and how much it needs to run. One real world indicator is indoor humidity. If it is too high you need more fresh air. If it is too low you are getting too much fresh air, which sounds like your problem. Since turning off the air exchanger will not cause a short term problem I suggest shutting it down and monitor the indoor humidity. Longer explanation if needed. Pick up a simple RH gauge if you don't have one.

Is your heat forced hot air? A leak in the heat ducts or poor balancing can add to the air leakage into and out of the house.

A door is like a big window, a large poorly insulated surface. When cold the air next to the door just falls off and can feel like a breeze.

I'm in Bangor Maine so do know what you get for temperatures.

As for " So, do I do anything here, like add drywall? No, correct? This house is just north of Montreal, in Canada, also the house was built in 1997."
If it was ok in 97 should still be ok now. We generally like to see multiple unit building have a fire rated divider between attic spaces. Neal may know more about Canada.

Bud
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