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Robert
Insulation in clean attic

Description:My house is a 2 story colonial in New Haven, CT approx. 1800 sq. ft. House is approximately 68 years old. Just had asbestos/vermiculite insulation removed from my attic for a small fortune. Now, I want to put in new insulation but am VERY confused about what kind to have a contractor do. I like the idea of foam, but that seems very expensive and I believe it has to be covered. I am retired, so have a somewhat limited budget. Fiberglass I'm not wild about. I'm leaning towards cellulose, but not sure if I need a vapor barrier. I understand that air sealing has to be done first around any pipes or light fixtures. What kind of "cover" should be used over the bedroom light fixtures? Is that something an amateur like me can do? I like to be an informed consumer, but using Google, with so MANY different suggestions is more confusing. PLEASE help. Thank you.:confused:

Fencepost
Re: Insulation in clean attic

I can't answer for the type of insulation to use or whether or not you need a vapor barrier.

As for the light fixtures, if it's just a light mounted to a junction box, all you have to do is caulk or use a can of spray foam around the junction box to seal any air gaps. The insulation can come in contact with junction boxes.

If it's a recessed fixture ("can light"), check to see if it is "IC" rated. That stands "Insulation Contact" which means you won't have to build a box around it -- all you have to do is caulk or foam any air gaps between it and the ceiling.

If the recessed fixture is not "IC" rated, then you'll either have to replace it with a fixture that is, or build a box around it. I'd recommend a sheet metal box (wood might get too hot); be sure to seal the seams of the box and also seal it to the ceiling material. If you're handy, you might find it beneficial to just replace them with IC-rated LED fixtures.

There are two reasons for sealing air gaps: first, it helps the efficiency of your home by preventing the loss of conditioned air. Second, it prevents humid air from the living space getting into the insulation where it can condense (the top layer of insulation will be colder than the heated space), degrade the insulation value (due to water's heat-conductive properties), and contribute to mold growth.

TIP: If you have any junction boxes with covers accessible to the attic, tie a ribbon to it and staple the other end of the ribbon to a rafter. That way, after it's covered up with insulation, you can find it again.

MtMan54
Re: Insulation in clean attic

Hi, Are you just trying to lower your heat bill or are you having other problems like ice dams and moisture? The insulation should pay for itself. Thanks

Robert
Re: Insulation in clean attic
Fencepost wrote:

I can't answer for the type of insulation to use or whether or not you need a vapor barrier.

As for the light fixtures, if it's just a light mounted to a junction box, all you have to do is caulk or use a can of spray foam around the junction box to seal any air gaps. The insulation can come in contact with junction boxes.

If it's a recessed fixture ("can light"), check to see if it is "IC" rated. That stands "Insulation Contact" which means you won't have to build a box around it -- all you have to do is caulk or foam any air gaps between it and the ceiling.

If the recessed fixture is not "IC" rated, then you'll either have to replace it with a fixture that is, or build a box around it. I'd recommend a sheet metal box (wood might get too hot); be sure to seal the seams of the box and also seal it to the ceiling material. If you're handy, you might find it beneficial to just replace them with IC-rated LED fixtures.

There are two reasons for sealing air gaps: first, it helps the efficiency of your home by preventing the loss of conditioned air. Second, it prevents humid air from the living space getting into the insulation where it can condense (the top layer of insulation will be colder than the heated space), degrade the insulation value (due to water's heat-conductive properties), and contribute to mold growth.

TIP: If you have any junction boxes with covers accessible to the attic, tie a ribbon to it and staple the other end of the ribbon to a rafter. That way, after it's covered up with insulation, you can find it again.

Thank you fencepost. I have decided to have rolled insulation put into the attic and blown in insulation into the exterior walls because there is NO insulation in the walls. I have regular light fixtures on the 2nd floor- no cans. Thank you.

Robert
Re: Insulation in clean attic
MtMan54 wrote:

Hi, Are you just trying to lower your heat bill or are you having other problems like ice dams and moisture? The insulation should pay for itself. Thanks

Just trying to make the second floor warmer in winter because of a single zone hot air gas furnace. NO ice dams or moisture. As for the walls, I have decided to have them insulated as well, because they are also cold in the winter. NO insulation there!

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