Attic sealing is a labor intensive project. You can save some money by making it a DIY project, but you will need two to three days (at least); and you might want to allow more time for extra trips to the hardware store or sealing those hard-to-reach corners that are more recessed than you first imagined.
Furthermore, if you encounter certain pre-existing issues—very old and unsafe wiring, vents that empty directly into the attic instead of outside, rotten boards, wet attic insulation, etc.—then you should stop and contact a professional to bring these components up to code. Even areas that don’t pose a safety concern can be troublesome. Open joist spaces will be in corners, sometimes in tight spaces. While the fix for this is simple, the logistics of getting the sealing insulation in place can require a limber body.
All in all, it may be best to hire professionals from the beginning. When professionals seal your attic, they will seal your home’s ceiling, which means looking for gaps around recessed light fixtures, vents, ducts, and other holes such as those for wiring. Some of these plugs will require special attention. Some recessed lights may get too hot. If you don’t want to replace the fixture, then fully sealing around them might be a bad idea. A specialist can provide the best solution for this. Furnace flues and brick chimneys must be sealed with aluminum and caulk so that insulation is kept a safe distance away from the flue or chimney. A professional will know the building code requirements for these special cases and will be able to work through any unique situations in your attic.
Once your attic is sealed, your home will have less drafts. Even if your windows and doors are not perfectly sealed, less air should be pulled in around them. Ideally, your home would have newer, energy-saving windows and doors as well as a sealed attic; however, replacing many windows and outside doors can be more expensive than sealing an attic. Furthermore, you can caulk or add strips to your windows and doors to stop most of their drafts, and this is a much easier and simpler task than sealing your own attic.
Once the attic is sealed and drafts are not pulling conditioned air into your attic, your energy bills will go down. Your heating and cooling unit will work less, and month over month you will see savings on your bill. This provides immediate savings to you, but it also should extend the life of your heating and cooling unit. When your heating and cooling unit no longer strains to compensate for energy loss, it should require less maintenance in future and its life might be extended.
Air sealing your attic has more benefits on top of energy efficiency and savings. With no more constant drafts in your attic, dust and loose insulation should no longer be blown around. This keeps your attic (and the things in it) just that much cleaner. Likely, you will see an improvement in air quality in your attic and in your home.
While sealing your attic, professionals will be around all the corners, and they can look for for any damage to the roof or outside walls that may allow rodents inside your attic. So, once an attic air sealing job is complete, pests like squirrels and raccoons should have a more difficult time getting into your attic.
One more added benefit is better temperature and moisture control. When unwanted drafts are eliminated, your attic’s designed ventilation system should work more efficiently to provide cross ventilation through your attic. With temperatures more appropriately regulated, moisture will be regulated as well. This will help prevent mold growth in your attic even though mold spores are prevalent in the northwest Washington State.
Whether you don’t have the time for a big DIY project or just do not have the inclination for a DIY project, you can contact your local attic cleaning professionals to air seal your attic. And the best part is that you will recuperate the cost of this service in energy savings—maybe even more quickly than you think, if your attic and home are exceptionally drafty!