January 30, 2017

This might not be a question that you naturally think to ask when thinking about adding insulation to your attic.  The assumption might be - "Wouldn't any contractor naturally be thinking of my health and safety?"  And while we sincerely hope that to be true of any contractor, we can only speak for ourselves!  What are some of the things we do to ensure not only your safety, but the safety of our crew? 

  • Combustion testing - We make sure any combustion appliances are functioning properly before we air seal or insulate.  We would not want to trap excess carbon monoxide in your home!
  • Lead testing - We test for lead before we replace windows or any other measure that would require us to disturb any potentially lead contaminated area.
  • Vermiculite - We send vermiculite samples to a lab to be tested for the presence of asbestos.
  • Moisture - We do not insulate if we find an active roof leak, or if your basement has constant moisture and is connected to your attic.  
  • Preventing potential fire hazards - We recommend switching your incandescent recessed lights to LEDs, deactivating old knob and tube wiring, or installing junction boxes to name a few.
  • Ventilation - We make sure your exhausts are properly vented to the outside prior to insulating.

I recently was able to help our crew at a house we were preparing to insulate.  They had already revented the clothes dryer the day before.  Here are some shots of the dryer vent hood we installed.  As you can see, it looks a little different than your average louvered style hood.  We install these occasionally because they not only vent exhaust out, but they also cut down on air coming back in to your home.  The first shot was taken while the dryer was running, and the second is of my finger holding it closed to demonstrate how it looks.

Venting an exhaust to the outside is not always easy or straight forward!  In this particular home, the bath fan on the first floor was venting into the area between floors rather than outside.  Our crew had to work above a tub for a majority of the time, which made it a little more complicated than usual.  Since there is not a really good way to try to work in the space between the floors, we actually dropped the ceiling above the tub to ven the exhaust fan out through the exterior wall.  First, we had to frame out the area as we planned to install the fan.

Next, we drilled the hole to the outside.  As you can see from the picture on the bottom right, we had to go through several layers of siding, insulation, drywall and lathe and plaster!  It took the better part of a half hour just to get the hole drilled, plus a few hard turns of the wrist as the drill bucked with quite a bit of power!  We lucked out and the hole just happened to be centered on the siding.  

We then installed the fan, vented it through the hole we drilled and installed a louvered hood on the siding.  You can see it on the right in action while the fan is on!

For the last step we installed the drywall, taped it, and put on the first coat of joint compound.  Voila!

Now we can add insulation to the attic without worrying about excess moisture causing mold or other issues as we also weatherize other parts of the house.