4 Crucial Attic Air Seals

Man is it cold outside. I tell you what, we’ve had some of the coldest weeks that we’ve had in a long time. Today, I’m gonna talk to you about four crucial attic air seals that you need to do that you can do on your own, that is going to stop the drafts in your houses.

Okay. So, every home has air loss in it. Every time your heating and air unit kicks on, you open the door, or something happens, your house loses air. Even during a storm, if you got wind blowing in a real hard direction, maybe 12 to 20 miles per hour, it’ll actually push air out of your house as well. So, some of the things that you need to do in order to make your home a little bit more energy efficient and less drafty is to do some air sealing.

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Critical Attic Air Seal #1

The first place I want you to look it is actually the access door to the attic. Now, whether you have a pull-down hatch or a push-up access door, this is probably the biggest loss of air because nobody insulates it, nobody air seals it. So, there’s a lot of great information and great tips out there about how to do it, but if you’ve got a pull-down door, we offer a pull-down door cover on our DIY Store. It’s a great little system, easy to install, and very efficient, and even covered by a radiant barrier so it doesn’t allow the radiant heat to come down inside the house from the attic. It’s called our attic hatch guard. So, make sure you check that out.

Critical Attic Air Seal #2

The other thing you should do is you should air seal any recess lights or can lights. Now, a couple of years ago I did a great video about how to do that. But what you want to do is if you’ve got non-IC rated, in other words you’re not supposed to have insulation contact, that’s what the IC means. So, you’re not supposed to have insulation contact on your recessed lights or your can lights. You can use a product that is very good. It’s made of mineral wool, and it’s made by Tenmat. It’s very, very good product.

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Now, there are different kinds. There’s one that is not IC rated, and there’s some that are. So make sure you get the right kind. It’s a fireproof one that you’re looking for. You can also use a couple of different boxes and things like that, but we really like the Tenmat because it’s really good at air sealing recess lights.

Critical Attic Air Seal #3

So the third thing that you can do in order to air seal your attic is to air seal the top plate of every wall. What you can use is the Handy Tool HT700 gun. We make this available on our DIY site. It comes with the gun and also a case of the spray foam, and you’re gonna need a case. You may need a couple of cases depending on how large your attic is.

Now, this is not gonna be an easy project. You’re gonna get covered in insulation. You’re gonna probably almost fall 10 times while you’re up there, because you’re stepping on studs and everything like that. But, it’s really, really a good way to air seal. You go in and move all the insulation off the top plate, and then you spray foam all of those holes that the electrician and the plumbers made, and also the gap that you’ll see while you’re up there that you don’t see while you’re in your house, where the drywall is not touching the top plate. I would go ahead and air seal that as well, and that’ll keep a lot of that air from traveling up into the attic and save you money and make your house less drafty.

Critical Attic Air Seal #4

Okay. So the fourth thing you’re gonna want to do is to air seal any ductwork that you have in your attic, and you can watch the video about how to do it here.

If you’ll do those four things, you’re gonna notice your house is not only more comfortable, but you’ll probably save some money. Remember there’s thermal insulation, which is blown in insulation, or batting, or things like that, that keeps heat and cold from transferring, but it doesn’t stop wind. It doesn’t stop drafting. You have to air seal the attic hatch, recess lights, top plates, and also the ductwork in order to air seal the house better.

2 thoughts on “4 Crucial Attic Air Seals”

  1. Michael, how would you air seal an actual stairwell into the attic? I have an unfinished 2nd floor and I can feel the thermal plane as I walk down the stairs. I’d like to stop it at the door if possible until I can completely finish the 2nd floor. Do you recommend putting a radiant barrier on the door itself? Hard foam?

    1. Hi Whit, great question. We typically use the Hatchway attic stair cover but it is designed to fit openings of 25″x56″x10″. If your opening does not fit those parameters you can use foam board and build a custom hatch cover and spray foam the joints to air seal. I do like a mix of radiant barrier and a thermal insulation where possible but to me air sealing should be the priority in all of the attic.

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