Insulation and Air Sealing

The Harvard School of Public Health determined insulation retrofits improve public health and save lives. Here’s a link to the full study –

The Harvard study was published in 2003 but its relevancy holds true today. The study was based on the average amount of homes built every year – 1.2 million – from 2001 to 2010. This means the study is based only on about 12 million homes and doesn’t take into account over 75 million homes already in existence. Imagine how great the numbers would be if it did! If these homes were all built, or retrofitted, to the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2000) standards, over 300 trillion BTUs (British Thermal Units – the most commonly used unit of energy/heat in homes) would be saved over the ten year period. Since this study was completed the IECC has been updated and made more stringent – which would make this study’s findings even greater! They then linked the amount of emissions saved from the reduced BTU requirement and found the public health benefits to be 60 fewer deaths, 2,000 fewer asthma attacks, and 30,000 fewer restricted activity days over the same period.

That’s a very scientific way to say this: increasing your home’s efficiency → reduces energy use → reduces burning of fossil fuels → reduces emissions and pollution → maintains and/or improves air quality → decreases deaths, asthma, and sickness due to poor air quality. This makes sense to me, but it requires the whole village to make a difference. Let’s start with your home.

What the study didn’t take into account was the air quality inside your home. When a home is poorly air sealed and under-insulated air flow is created between the living space and the wall cavity, crawlspace/basement, and attic. When this air passes through a wall or joist cavity it travels across insulation, dust, pollen, etc. When it escapes into the living space it now becomes air you and your family are breathing.

Americans are spending more of their time indoors than ever before. This is due to change in lifestyles, change in work environment, more home offices, etc. Incidences of asthma and respiratory issues in Americans have skyrocketed, too. It is more important than ever for our homes to be a healthy haven for our families. It starts with air sealing, insulation, and a knowledgeable company like DHS performing the upgrades.

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There’s More to it than Just Blowing Insulation in Your Attic

We have been hearing that there are insulation crews from Denver and Idaho in town offering attic insulation blowing for incredibly low costs. It is a wonderful addition to a house and a great step towards reducing energy waste. But before you let these people fill your attic with fiberglass, cellulose, etc, make sure they air-seal all ceiling penetrations (light fixtures, vent fans, stove pipes, plumbing vents, etc.), before it’s too late. After 15 inches of insulation has been installed it will be very hard to air-seal. The performance of your new insulation upgrade will be greatly reduced if air-sealing is omitted. You must stop air from escaping through the ceiling. Also take into consideration that your attic must breathe. An insulation crew that does not understand the entire health of the home may cause more damage than good. If the insulation is installed so that the ventilation is stifled you could cause dry rot conditions or even mold. But if you can’t pass up their offer please make sure they air-seal and maintain ventilation. Also check to make sure the insulation was spread thouroughly. The new insulation will only perform as well as the thinnest application of material.

For a trusted source in home efficiency… call Durango Home Solutions. We’re offering free consultations for the month of February. We will take a comprehensive look into the mechanical workings of your house and offer suggestions on how to lower utility costs and make your home more comfortable. If you want to see how the job is done right, check out our attic insulation and air-sealing blog entry. We will also tap into the latest rebates and tax credits available to cut the initial costs substantially. As you consume less energy every year you will get that much closer to paying off the initial costs. Check out the Incentives page.

Good Luck,
Jake Walsh


Attic Air Sealing and Insulation Upgrades

A typical home can lose 70% of its heat through the roof.  A simple, efficient and cost effective way to diminsh those infiltrative losses is to air seal and increase insulation in your home’s attic. Durango Home Solutions can complete this installation for you, amongst many other services. Call or email to find out what we can do for you!

A quick investigation of the attic shows inadequate insulation for a home in a cold climate. 4 inches of cellulose is unacceptable.

Further investigation reveals NO INSULATION!

We start the upgrade process by air sealing all of your ceiling’s mechanical penetrations, etc.

This wood burning stove pipe penetration caused major air and heat loss from the home to the cold vented attic… Until now!

After the air sealing has been completed, we bring in the new insulation. There are many types of attic insulation to meet your needs. In this application we used Green Fiber which is a cellulose insulation (Recycled paper).

Quick, clean and easy setup.

Notice the baffle installed to increase venting. This is necessary to keep your attic dry and fresh.

And here we go! Just imagine your heating costs dropping.

That’s us.

Now with air sealing and 11 more inches of insulation, we’ve increased your home’s heating performace. This home went from an R-12 to an R- 49 and has decreased the gas heating costs by 50%!!!
You can save money and feel more comfortable too.

We won’t forget to insulate your attic acess hatch. It is very common that your attic hatch is only a 5/8 inch piece of drywall. It must perform as well as the rest of your upgrade.