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Tip #3: Prevent and Remove Ice Damming | Fairfield Home Inspection

Tip #3: Prevent and Remove Ice Damming | Fairfield Home Inspection

Welcome to Tip #3 in our Fairfield Home Inspection Blog series how to preventing and removing ice dams from your home. In Tip #2 we discussed identifying and solving heat loss issues for your Fairfield County home. The next critical element (Part 3 of our Fairfield Home Inspection Blog series) to helping prevent ice dams and maintaining the correct temperature in the attic is ventilation. It is important the temperature of the attic maintain temperatures that are close to the exterior throughout the year.  You don’t want it warm in the winter and certainly don’t want it too hot in the summer.  An attic space should have 1 square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of attic space, assuming vent space is split between soffit and ridge. Manufacturers of soffit vents and ridge vents typically specify the net free vent area of their products on the packaging or on installation instructions available online.   The concept behind current construction methods is to allow for air to flow from the eave out through the ridge of the roof through the use of soffit vents and and a ridge vent.  The air flows in through the soffit, up the rafter bays, and out the ridge vent.  It is important to look at where your attic insulation lays, and that it is not resting on top of the soffit, blocking your ventilation.  A key element in preventing that is something called a baffle- very common for the homes in Fairfield County that we inspect. Baffles create a channel for air to flow between the insulation and roof sheathing, and prevent...
Tip #2 to Prevent and Remove Ice Damming | Fairfield County Home Inspection

Tip #2 to Prevent and Remove Ice Damming | Fairfield County Home Inspection

In part #1 of our Fairfied County Home Inspection blog series, We discussed insulation as a step to help prevent ice damming at your Fairfield County home, lets talk about heat loss from the living space into the attic.  There can be a tremendous amount of warm, moist air that can enter the attic through a variety of small openings, especially in the cold CT winter months.   Think about the ceiling between the living space and the attic space, and how many openings there may be that you can, or even cannot, see. The small gaps around recessed lights, gaps around ceiling mounted duct registers, bathroom exhaust fans, plumbing vent pipes, and many other areas can be sealed to help restrict warm air from entering the attic. One of the biggest culprits are attic access hatches or pull down stairs.  Those key access points should be also insulated and weather stripped for increased efficiency and to prevent heat loss.  For pull down stairs, you could construct a rigid foam board box that can sit over the ladder, or buy a pre-made attic stair insulation cover.  Our home in Fairfield, CT has an attic hatch in the hallway in our house, and I cut multiple sections of rigid foam board which was stacked atop the hatch.  I secured it with adhesive, then finished with a weatherstripping around the opening.   A home energy/insulation specialist right in the Fairfield area will be able to evaluate and offer the best possible solutions for increasing insulation and better sealing your attic space from the living area below, thus helping one of the areas to prevent ice damming.  They would also be qualified to run a blower...
Tip #1: Prevent and Remove Ice Damming | Home Inspection Fairfield CT

Tip #1: Prevent and Remove Ice Damming | Home Inspection Fairfield CT

Here is Part 1 of our multi-part home inspection blog series: The first area to combat ice damming we will discuss is insulation in your home.  Insulation is rated according to an R-value.  R-value is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. So the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.   The idea is to keep all of the warm interior air in your home inside the conditioned space, where it belongs.  Each form of insulation will have a different R-value based on a per-inch measurement.   For this discussion we will specifically address the R-value in the ceiling space between the attic and conditioned area of the home.  Connecticut is located in Zone 5 according to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  The minimum R-value for insulation at the ceiling in the attic space according to the 2015 IECC is R-49. (http://codes.iccsafe.org/app/book/content/2015-I-Codes/2015%20IECC%20HTML/Chapter%204%20[RE].html).  It is also important to note that many municipalities may vary in what they require, and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) may indicate that R-38 is considered acceptable (cathedral ceilings can vary between R-30 and R-38 minimum).  While it is always best to check with your local building official, it certainly will not hurt, and would be recommended, to bring your insulation above and beyond what they may determine as acceptable.  Best practices should prevail over the minimum requirement.   Depending on your current insulation material and R-value based on the year your home was built, a contractor specializing in insulation can offer some solutions to raise your R-value, as well as discuss the variety of insulation materials that are available to you. ...

EPA Declares January National Radon Action Month

The EPA has declared January National Radon Action Month to bring awareness to the importance of radon and radon testing.  While Radon Action Month has a tough act to follow after the holiday season in December and January, it should be celebrated in its own right.  I don’t mean “let’s gather round the radon canisters in the basement for two days!” sort of celebration, but certainly an opportunity to open dialogue, share information, and even offer up discounted radon testing.  January is a great month for testing radon in the Northeast as the cold weather allows for a house to maintain those closed conditions required during a radon test.  I think one thing that sometimes clients and their agents may be confused about is that the EPA has set different protocols for testing when it is for a real estate transaction, and when it is for non-real estate situations.  Careful consideration should be made when setting up the test on what the actual context of the test is.  If you haven’t had a test in a while, or ever, there’s still time to be a part of National Radon Action Month. Search for: All Articles Categories Exterior Home Buying Home Maintenance Home Safety Insulation & Ventilation Plumbing Radon...

Sinkholes on NOVA

So sinkholes are most common in karst terrain, or regions where the rock below the land surface is soluble.  They are scary.  Tune in and watch PBS NOVA for a great show.  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/sinkholes.html Search for: All Articles Categories Exterior Home Buying Home Maintenance Home Safety Insulation & Ventilation Plumbing Radon...