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Adventures in Energy Efficiency: Daniel Beard Home Attic Upgrade

The owner of the beautiful 1821 Daniel Beard (“the Father of Scouting”) home in Covington, KY, has engaged our Home Performance Contracting Service to carry out a full workscope of energy efficiency improvements. Our Building Analyst, Dane Ervick, is busy overseeing and coordinating this multi-faceted project.

Last week, we were in the attic with our partners Insulating Sales and National Heating and Air working to bring it into conditioned space so that a new air handler could be installed. When work began, the attic was barely insulated:

Insulating Sales created a framed and insulated room so that the heating system won’t be fighting near-outdoor temperatures as it supplies heat to the rest of the home.

National Heating and Air insulated and sealed the new duct work and connected the air handler to an existing closed loop geothermal heating and cooling system.

The once uninsulated attic now features closed cell spray foam on the roof deck, fiberglass batts and rigid board insulation on the knee walls, and R-49 blown in cellulose on the attic plane behind the knee walls. These improvements will keep heat from escaping the home and make it easier for the air handler to operate. As always, we are installing all materials in compliance with manufacturer’s specifications and national fire codes.

Next up: Under the home in the crawl space!

Energy Tip: Fall DIY Check List

1. Replace Furnace Air Filter

Make sure your furnace is ready to work! Start the cold season with a clean air filter and do the research about your system to find out how often your filters should be changed or cleaned to keep your furnace working efficiently and to maintain healthy indoor air quality. Now is also a good time to schedule furnace maintenance with your HVAC provider.

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2. Clean, Re-Caulk, and Weatherize Windows

Fall is a great time to wash the exterior of your windows (before it gets too cold) and to inspect the exterior caulking of wood framed windows. Remember, even if you have high efficiency windows, if they are not sealed around the frames, you will lose a lot of heat through air infiltration. If you need to recaulk your windows, remove the old caulk, use an appropriate heavy-duty exterior window caulk, and press into place to ensure a good seal. Install weather strips on the interior of windows while you’re at it! A good test you can do is to close your window on a sheet of paper. If you can remove the paper, you need to address the seal of the window.

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3. Check Roof for Leaks

It is a good idea to inspect your roof for critter or weather damage before we are left with short days and cold nights. Inspect for leaks inside. Outside, look for lifted shingles, wood chips, or shavings. If the damage is only shingle deep, all you need are some matching shingles and roofing nails to keep your house covered. If there is more extensive damage, call a professional.

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4. Winterize Electrical Outlets

Electrical penetrations and outlets are often an avenue for air infiltration in the home, contributing to draftiness and energy waste. If you remove the faceplates of your outlets, especially of exterior walls, you can accomplish two things: check the integrity of the wiring (look for missing caps, blackened wires, and check the output with a handheld meter while you’re at it), and you can insulate and air seal the cavity with foam gaskets before replacing the faceplate. Don’t forget to shut off your electricity if you need to repair any of the wiring of the outlet!

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5. Assess the Attic

If you do one thing this winter, change your furnace filters. Make your second task winterizing your windows and doors. Third on that list should be addressing the dreaded attic: insulation, sealing, and ventilation. Consult our Know Thy Attic article to get started.

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