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How Do You Know if Your Air Ducts Are Leaking?

Air Duct Air Condition pipe line system Air flow HVAC system

About Air Duct Leaks

If your HVAC heating hasn’t been up to par this winter, it could be an indication the air conditioning won’t be either this summer. And you know how hot the summers get here in Texas!  If your HVAC system has been inspected and you’ve kept the air filter changed every 30 days, then you could have an air duct leak. Testing for this can be done by a professional and is well worth the cost and time! 

How do I know if I have bad ductwork?

After some time, air ducts become compromised and can start to leak. As a homeowner, you may not realize this or even know how to find air duct leaks, but not to fear, there are professionals that do know how with duct leak testing procedures. However, there are three key indicators that you should be aware of that are telling you it is time to have professional air duct leak testing done: 

  • Room Temperatures Inconsistent

When the temperature from room to room is inconsistent, often the problem is restricted airflow and not providing the proper air pressure through the air duct. Leak testing can find the problem areas, or if there are insufficient air ducts. 

  • Low Air Quality

A clear indicator that there is a problem with the air duct system in your home is noticeable lower air quality and an increase in dust. When the connections are broken or weak in the air duct system, they suck in dust from the attic and that dust blows all over your home. A professional duct leak testing will tell if there are broken or weak duct connections that need to be fixed. 

  • Leaking Air Ducts 

If you can hear air leaking through an air duct, leak testing isn’t necessary other than to determine if there is more than the one leak you’re hearing. Leaking air ducts is making your HVAC system work harder, which is using more electricity and costing you money each month. 

How much duct leakage is normal?

Reports from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) show that as much as 30% of the cooled air is lost through air duct leaks. Testing professionals can find these leaks and get that number down to an acceptable 4% or less by showing where air duct repairs, replacements, and sealing are needed. 

Grille of air conditioner system under ceiling.

Is duct sealing worth it?

Absolutely!   Not only will air duct leak testing find where your air ducts aren’t performing as they should, by getting them repaired and sealed will lower your cooling and heating costs by up to 20% or more!  An added benefit is less dirt and dust in your home, which is always a plus! And, with an air duct sealant job, you’ll be eliminating the growth of mildew, and mold in the air ducts will give your home better indoor air quality too. 

What causes duct leakage?

So, while we have discussed how air duct leak testing can help account for air loss in your system, what causes those air duct leaks?

  • Age and gravity: Just like the human body, age and gravity are the enemies to air ducts too. With the constant pull of gravity as the ductwork ages, it loosens the seals, and they break. There are several interconnected sections of air ducts that should be sealed with mastic or with metal tape. This will prevent air loss and keep the duct segments connected. 
  • Detached or loosened: Similarly, the air duct segments should-haves a tight fit at each connection, with special attention to elbows and joints. With age, or if any damage occurs that causes the segments to come apart or loose, most of the cooled or heated air is lost in the attic.
  • Ducts installed in unprotected areas: When air ducts are in an unprotected area like the crawl space, it is easier to be damaged. Ideally, air ductwork should be insulated itself and installed so that is diverted away from unprotected areas when possible.
  • Lack of fastening: If air duct segments aren’t fastened at every connection, or the fasteners become damaged, they can develop leaks and break apart.
  • Critters and rodents: Air ductwork is a haven for small critters and insects. Mice, rats, possums, squirrels, and insects like to nest in the air ducts, and when there is a small break or opening, it makes it easier for them to set up home. This extra weight will break the connections, these unwanted visitors will chew holes through the ductwork, and more. 
  • Zone pressurization: The rooms in your home develop pressure differences, causing air to leak out of the ductwork. Duct leak testing will also find where there is inadequate supply and return ducts that need professional attention. 

Can an air duct leak water?

Yes, this is condensation that builds up during the summer months when the air conditioning is working at its optimum performance. This may not seem like a big issue but left unaddressed, you can expect the following possible detrimental problems.

  • Dripping Insulation: The condensation dripping will affect and damage the attic and ductwork insulation, reducing the R-value, and making it less efficient. 
  • Water Leakage: With air conditioning duct condensation, the moisture will lead to leaks in the ceilings and walls, weakening the structure of your home. 
  • Mildew and Mold: Moisture building up around the air ducts leads to mildew and mold, creating a health hazard in your home. Anyone in your home that has a high sensitivity to mildew and mold will be affected, and anyone with asthma, rhinitis or other breathing issues will be affected. 
  • Fire Hazard: Yes, water is used to put out fires, but it can also cause a fire when it is dripping on electrical wiring. 

How long does ductwork last?

The air ductwork in most homes can last up to 15 years maximum. Professional air duct leak testing is recommended every 3 to 5 years and annually after 10 years. A professional air duct leak testing company will usually have knowledge of how to fix air duct leaks with the proper materials. 

Keeping It Where It Counts: Are leaking ducts in your home costing you money?

Yes, a leaking air duct system is costing you money in energy bills and very possibly costing you doctor visits and medications. Will air duct leak testing and repairs cost you too? Absolutely, but that expense will be re-cooped with lower energy bills!  

ACT Home Energy Specialists provides complete air duct leak testing in Fort Worth, TX. Call 817-781-8781 to get scheduled.

What are the benefits of energy efficiency?

home with a roof covered in solar energy panels

Making Your Home Energy-Efficient

The summers get mighty hot here in North Texas, and by the end of June, sometimes sooner, the air conditioner is needed almost 24/7. The winters in these parts can get mighty cold too, meaning the heat sometimes runs a lot. Either way, the utility bills skyrocket, so we all need energy-efficient homes!

But the utility bills aren’t the only reason why energy efficiency and conservation is important. There are many other reasons why we should all want energy-efficient homes and lifestyles to consider as well.

Why Make Your Home Energy-Efficient?

Here are seven reasons, in addition to saving on utility bills, that energy efficiency and energy-efficient homes are important:

The Environment

Energy efficiency reduces our carbon footprint. In 2016, as much as 19% of our carbon footprints came from our homes with greenhouse gas emissions. By implementing energy efficiency in our homes, the contributions to that can be significantly reduced. We can reduce this by up to 30% by simply investing in appliances and other home improvements. 

Why choose energy-efficient appliances? Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances will not only save on our monthly utility bills, but they enhance our lifestyles and protect the environment by lowering the amount of carbon dioxide we produce. 

Utility Bills

As we’ve already mentioned, our utility bills can skyrocket at certain times of the year. By working toward having energy-efficient homes with energy-efficiency upgrades, we can lower our utilities by up to 30% each month. 

Protecting Your Investment

Energy-efficient upgrades are often considered an expense, when in fact, we should view them as investments. The amount we can save on our utilities is the ROI of the initial cost to purchase the energy-efficient upgrades. 

Raising Your Property Value

Energy-efficient homes are an attractive draw in the real estate world. A home buyer is more likely to pay the asking price or more, for a home with all the energy-efficient upgrades already in place. Like the appliance, insulation, windows, and exterior siding. These are expenses that a homebuyer doesn’t want to face any time soon after closing. 

Your Quality of Life

With energy-efficient homes, the comfort of living will improve your quality of life with health benefits, which is a money saver too. energy-efficient homes are cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, drier and well-ventilated. These are the things that lower the risk of mildew and mold growth and minimize illnesses. When the financial benefits of energy-efficient homes are analyzed, the benefit-cost ratio is four.

Cutting Other Costs

It doesn’t require big money to be spent to create energy-efficient homes. Yes, the new appliances, upgraded insulation, and windows are a huge help in cutting down carbon footprint and energy bills, but there are smaller investments you can make that will help too, such as:

  • Installing a programmable thermostat
  • Purchase advanced power strips
  • Purchase energy-efficient lighting 

Returns On Your Investment

Even the smallest energy efficiency measures will generate utility savings over time. You won’t see as much ROI on upgrading to a programmable thermostat as you will with upgrading the windows, but the proportions of any energy-efficient home improvements are dollar-for-dollar and lessen the carbon footprint. 

How much can energy-efficient windows save?

A big push to create more energy-efficient homes is to install energy-efficient windows. Is that just a sales tactic or is really going to save money over time? The DOE (Department of Energy) has stated that energy-efficient windows do offer significant savings, by as much as $500 a year, depending on where you live with upgrading your single-pane windows. 

How can buildings improve energy efficiency?

Okay, we’ve discussed ways to increase energy efficiency in our homes, but what about our businesses or places of employment? Here are some ways commercial structures can become more energy-efficient, starting with measuring the energy the building is consuming, and where that energy is being lost or utilized. Other ways to upgrade to a more energy-efficient structure can include: 

  • Insulation: The exterior envelope of a commercial building needs to be designed to lower cooling and heating needs. Start by making the building airtight and with a new building that can be done by having high-performance insulation installed with non-traditional wall systems. Replacing the older doors and windows to remove air leaks.
  • Ventilation: With the right ventilation system, a commercial building can be airtight, the indoor air quality improved, and moisture buildup minimized. A heat recovery ventilator system will use the outgoing air to heat incoming air and during the summer, the air inside the building can cool the air that comes inside. coming from outside.
  • Certified equipment: Purchasing equipment that is certified as energy-efficient, and high-performance, like Energy Star certification. A computer that is Energy Star certified uses as much as 60% less energy than older computers. 
  • LED lights: By upgrading to LED lights, energy consumption is reduced by up to 75%. Adding sensors that turn lights off and on by motion will cut back the energy costs even more. 
  • Upgrade to LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is being pushed globally to make the world more energy-efficient, improve air quality, and more. If your commercial structure isn’t following LEED guidelines now, consider retrofitting it soon. 

What is considered energy-efficient?

Energy efficiency is the practice of using less energy to accomplish the same goal by minimizing the energy cost and pollution. In our homes and businesses, society, in general, has the habit of using more energy than we really need to accomplish our tasks. We have the habit of being inefficient and wasting energy and the natural resources needed for that energy. 

So, what is the difference between energy efficiency versus energy conservation? Where energy efficiency is the technical performance of conserving energy and natural resources, energy conservation is the act of reducing the amount of energy used. 

woman calculating her energy efficiency savings

In Closing – How do you test your home’s energy efficiency?

Hiring a professional home energy assessment company is the best way to check the level of energy-efficient homes. 

The professional energy assessments provide details in the assessment of the energy use in your home. This typically includes the following while using equipment that detects any source of energy loss: 

  • Room-by-room examination
  • Review of past utility bills
  • A blower door test 
  • A thermographic scan

In some areas, utility companies offer this service for free as do solar panel companies.

How Much Attic Ventilation is Needed?

Attic vent on top of a roof

Attic Ventilation is More Important Than You Might Think

Most homeowners don’t realize how important attic ventilation is to their comfort and utilities. It isn’t something you think much about until your electric bill skyrockets out of control. Or worse, you get a roof leak caused by wood rot from moisture in the attic. 

Is attic ventilation necessary?

The answer is yes! To support that answer, we’ll talk about how attic ventilation works. With more knowledge about attic ventilation, you’ll understand the connection between attic ventilation and mold. 

An attic that is completed sealed traps heat and moisture, too much in fact. And that shortens the lifespan of the roofing material, from the shingles down to the rafters and decking. Keeping the attic hot isn’t just bad during the summer though. 

That heat and moisture are trapped in the winter months too, especially when there is insufficient attic insulation and lack of attic ventilation. Yes, even with ice and snow on the roof, your attic is still accumulating heat and moisture as the heat from the rest of the home rises. 

Then that hot air melts the snow as the day warms up only to melt again at night. Then you have ice dams created, which can create leaks in the roof. 

How does attic ventilation come to the rescue? 

As we learn in grade school, heat rises. So, as your home is warm and toasty in the winter thanks to a great HVAC system, that warm air rises to the attic. Warm air is moist, and if there isn’t any attic ventilation, that moisture soaks into the rafters, under decking, and up into the roofing materials. There are two types of attic ventilation to pull that naturally risen heated air out: 

  • The intake attic vents: These are located under the eaves at the lowest part of the roof and cool air enters the attic through these vents.
  • The hot air exhaust vents: These are located along the roof peak and the hot air escapes through these. 

For attic ventilation to work though, experts recommend attic ventilation best practices, every 300 square feet of attic floor space, there should be 1 square foot of vents. Some building codes may differ, and contractors are usually familiar with these codes or know where to confirm that information. Other steps recommended to get the most from attic ventilation include the following: 

  • The intake and exhaust vents should be located so that air flows easily. This should be done with continuous vents running the entire length of the eave and ridge. 
  • The airflow should not be blocked or restricted by insulation or skylights. 
  • The airflow should be open from the eaves to the ridge between each rafter. 
  • If static vents are used, they should be spaced equally close to each other, allowing the entire attic to be ventilated. 
  • If necessary, use different types of intake vents and exhaust vents to create proper attic ventilation in coordination with the vent manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The intake and exhaust for the attic ventilation should be balanced with the intake vents providing between 50% to 60% of the open ventilating area and the exhaust vents providing between 40% to 50% of the open ventilating area. The intake port of the attic ventilation should always be more than the exhaust to create a balanced attic ventilation system. 

How to tell if you need more attic ventilation?

During the summer, heat buildup should be reduced when you have good attic ventilation so that cooling expenses are reduced, and asphalt shingles’ lifespan is extended. During the winter, the warm air from the living space rises to the attic. When you have good attic ventilation, that buildup of moist heat escapes, keeps the attic dry, and eliminates the possibility of ice dams forming. 

 These are four steps that will tell you if your home does not have proper or sufficient attic ventilation: 

  • Check the eaves around your home and along the roof peak. If there aren’t any attic vents in the eaves or along the roof peak, you need to have some installed. Who installs attic ventilation? If you’re getting a new roof or new siding, the contractor can install your attic ventilation. Or an HVAC specialist can install attic ventilation for you. 
  • From the inside of your home, touch the ceiling on a sunny day. If the ceiling is hot, then you don’t have proper attic ventilation. 
  • During the winter, if the eaves have thick ice ridges, you need more attic ventilation.
  • During the winter, using a flashlight, inspect your attic. If you see dampness, moisture, or frost, your attic ventilation is insufficient. Who fixes attic ventilation? A professional roofing contractor will assess your home’s attic ventilation and provide you with the solutions to improve it, typically by installing either a roof ridge or gable vents. 
contractor working on attic ventilation

Which attic ventilation is best?

For most homes, soffit vents for intake and a roof ridge vent for exhaust are recommended. However, not all homes will this type of attic ventilation work, so there is a box vent style that is the next best thing for the exhaust. If soffit ventilation won’t work for a home, fascia vents are the next best option. 

 For attic ventilation for metal roofs, gable, roof ridge, and intake vents are all needed.  An experienced roofing contractor that works with metal roofing can determine what is needed for a home with metal roofing.

If you’re worried you may not have proper attic ventilation, be sure to give us a call at 817-781-8781.

Is adding insulation to the attic worth it?

worker providing attic insulation installation

When should attic insulation be replaced?

After the 2021 snow-apocalypse, Texas homeowners are getting their homes better prepared. If you’re going to do anything Texas, do it big and do it right! This includes getting attic insulation installation done. Because knowing how attic insulation works will not ensure you’re better prepared for another snow-apocalypse, but it will help with comfort and energy costs in the summer too. 

Proper attic insulation installation in an unfinished attic is a simple way to keep your heating bill under control. For an investment of between $1700 and $2100, you can get these five benefits: 

1. Money Saved: An attic insulation installation is a financial investment that will lower your future heating and cooling bills, hundreds, even thousands annually. 

2. Comfort: In Texas, the winters can get cold, and the summers definitely get blisteringly hot. But you can keep your home comfortable year-round with attic insulation installation. An under-insulated home is vulnerable to fluctuating temperatures, especially in the attic. With an attic insulation installation, you keep the cool or heat in the living area of the house. 

3. Environmental Impact: For the homeowner concerned with being green, and attic insulation installation will help your home use less energy, limit pollution contribution, and reduce waste, all minimizing your home’s carbon footprint.

4. Soundproofing: Wall and attic insulation installation will soundproof your home, a big bonus if you live on a busy street or have loud neighbors. ad, or annoying city sounds. 

5. Overall Help for Your Home: Attic insulation installation will help your home’s foundation and roof by keeping pipes from freezing (a BIG problem this past February!) and keep you from having those massive repair bills again.

How much insulation do I need in my attic?

Before you call and schedule a professional attic insulation installation, or buy the materials to DIY, check to see what you have first. How much and the condition of what you have will determine how much you need, if any. Don’t just assume you need any insulation.

The recommended amount of attic insulation is based on two major factors: 

  • Where you live—Insulation is measured in R-value, and it takes on a different value for different climates.
  • Age of your home—A home that is 10 years old or older will need more attic insulation than a new home. Your attic insulation installation can be retrofitted with a fiberglass and mineral wool type of insulation.

Is it worth replacing attic insulation?

Typically, with attic insulation installation, manufacturers advise it should last at least 80 years, and sometimes even as long as 100 years. However, it’s efficacy becomes less and less as its ages, so the recommendation is replacing it every 15 years to ensure that it is doing the best job possible. You should check every two to three years and if there are any signs of moisture or pests in the insulation, you should consider an attic insulation installation sooner than the recommended 15 years.

Can you put too much insulation in the attic?

Yes – too much insulation in the attic can have a negative impact, and here a couple of reasons why this is one time more is not better: 

  • Poor ROI: ROI, (Return on investment) is a concept in determining the value of an investment. When we’re considering an attic insulation installation, the ROI is determined by dividing the benefit it provides, i.e. energy savings, by the cost of your initial investment. Once you know the recommended R-value for your home, if you want more energy efficiency than what that provide, install a radiant barrier instead. A radiant barrier will block heat from the roof before it reaches your insulation. This allows less heat transfer into the air conditioned space of your home. 
  • Poor Ventilation: An attic has to be ventilated, but if you overstuff the attic with insulation, the ventilation can’t work. 

Can I install my own attic insulation?

Yes, it is possible with certain types of attic insulation materials, and it will save you money. A fiberglass batting type of insulation is a fairly easy DIY project for one weekend. However, if you want to go with blown in or spray foam insulation, this has to be done by a certified and licensed attic insulation installation professional.

What attic insulation do I need?

There are a variety of attic insulation types, but the one most recommended today is spray foam insulation. There are two types of spray foam insulation to choose from: 

  • Closed-cell with a R-6.5 value 
  • Open-cell with a R-3.6 value 
spray foam insulation being sprayed into an attic

Closing Up With Answers For Two Major Concerns

For a home where family members have allergy issues, the concern for how attic insulation will affect them is legitimate. So, can attic insulation cause allergies?  Poor to no attic insulation is a bigger concern. Things like dust mites, mildew, mold, and pet dander can be triggered when there is little to no attic insulation. 

A more common concern for health risks is fiberglass insulation. Most of us will have skin irritation when we come in contact with fiberglass. The particles create a rash and the itching inflames the rash. Another big concern for homeowners is the flammability of attic insulation. Is attic insulation flammable? Because fiberglass insulation is made with plastic polymers, it is naturally fire-resistant. However, there are many circumstances that could still cause it to burn. We wouldn’t recommend smoking while you are doing your own attic insulation installation!

Do I need to replace my attic insulation?

roll of insulation on attic floor

The Importance of Attic Insulation

After the early part of 2021, homeowners in the most southern and warmest parts of the country are seeking ways to make their homes warmer in the winter. Being energy efficient is a goal as well, especially in Texas, where the summers are downright blistering hot. So, starting from the top and working their way down, attic insulation replacement and new windows are often the first things taken care of. 

Knowing how attic insulation works will help you understand how and why attic insulation is important – and it will help you understand why attic insulation replacement is important, too.  Attic insulation is a thermal barrier that reduces the movement of thermal energy into and out of your home. Simply put, attic insulation blocks heat from coming inside in the summer and keeps heat inside in the winter.

You need attic insulation to keep your house cool in the winter and to keep it at an ideal warm temperature in the winter, all with minimal to no effect on your utilities.  If you haven’t already been there, go to the attic, and you should see that even the flooring is covered with insulation. 

That is what is keeping the cool air in the summer and the warm air in the winter inside your home. If there isn’t any – or if there is very little – then it is time to have a professional quote you on attic insulation replacement. 

Which attic insulation is best?

What makes an attic insulation replacement the best? That is going to depend on what you are expecting and needing with your insulation. Here, we have listed some common types of attic insulation with their pros, cons, and their R-value. This information can help you make a decision on which is the best for your home: 

Fiberglass Batt

This is the easiest attic insulation replacement on the market, but it also has the worse R-value and performance.  Still, because it is the easiest to install, typically being a weekend DIY  project, it is still popular and better than nothing. 

Cellulose

Made from ground-up paper and boric acid (offering insect control), this fire-resistant attic insulation replacement is better than the batts described above.  This can be a DIY home improvement project as well with bags of the material available at any big box home improvement store. With a large enough quantity, some stores will loan you the insulation blower at no charge. 

The downside to cellulose insulation is the amount of dust it creates, which can be a hindrance. However, a professional can install wet-spray cellulose as dust control, but not so much as to reduce its effectiveness. With an approximate R-value of  3.5 per inch, there isn’t an actual air barrier. However, air movement is stopped by its density.  

Loose-Fill Fiberglass

This attic insulation replacement material dominates the new-build industry with an approximate R-Value of 2.5 per inch. It is typically blown in by a machine and requires a respirator while installing it. Because the fiberglass causes itchy skin and makes breathing difficult, it is recommended to have it professionally installed. 

A downside in the history of loose-fill attic insulation replacement is the loss of effectiveness once temperatures drop to 20 degrees and colder. The new manufacturing process improved on this issue. 

Spray Foam

Most professionals believe this is the best performing attic insulation replacement on the market. It comes in two types, closed-cell with an R-value of 6.5 and open-cell with an R-value of 3.6 per inch. Professional installation will assure that all crannies and nooks are thoroughly covered, keeping air movement out with zero heat transfer.

The downside to either of these spray-foam attic insulation replacement materials is the expense. Professional installation is recommended to ensure you’re getting the best coverage possible. A big downside is the toxic off-gassing, another reason professional installation is recommended. 

Can attic insulation cause allergies?

Attic insulation replacement materials often have an odor that can make some people sick with prolonged exposure. Professional installation of any type of attic insulation can typically prevent this from happening.  If you choose a DIY project with your attic insulation that results in members of your home getting sick, call a professional immediately to help rectify the problem and avoid possibly serious health issues.

Can attic insulation catch fire?

While most attic insulation replacement materials are extremely fireproof, there is a wide range of issues that can cause them to burn. Fiberglass insulation is naturally fire-resistant because of the glass and plastic polymers it is made from.  Batt style of attic insulation has a foil or paper backing that burns fast and cellulose attic insulation is not fireproof unless treated with flame retardants that minimize combustion. An attic insulation material made from mineral wool is non-combustible.

How much does it cost to remove and replace attic insulation?

Removing old attic insulation can cost as much as $1.50 per square foot. Attic insulation replacement can be as low as $2 per square foot and up to $8.50 per square foot depending on the material. If the existing insulation is in good condition, it may cost less than $1.50 per square foot to remove. 

How do I get rid of old attic insulation?

If you want to save money, removing the old attic insulation yourself may be a possibility. If you’re not sure the old insulation should be removed before the new attic insulation replacement, know that removing it will also remove any possible rodent infestation and mold. It also improves the air quality and energy efficiency once the attic insulation replacement is installed. 

To remove the existing attic insulation yourself, work in small areas and work your way through the entire attic. This takes longer but makes the removal easier. Invest in protective gear for your own safety, including eye-wear, face mask, rubber-coated gloves, long sleeves, and a pair of coveralls. A flashlight will be helpful as you go about removing the old attic insulation. 

To get the job done quicker, rent a commercial-grade insulation removal vacuum. The gas-powered engine will have metal connectors to the vacuum and large vacuum bags that will help get it done safely and fast. You want to have plenty of 50-gallon construction-type trash bags, dustpans, and rakes on hand to remove blown-in insulation. 

Most attics are not built for a lot of foot traffic, so you’ll want to walk with caution and keep moving. If you have a hardhat it will give you added protection. With all of this in place and on hand, get started following these tips:

  • BLOWN-IN CELLULOSE: With a flashlight, ladder, and a commercial vacuum, and wearing all the safety equipment listed, begin vacuuming up the blown-in insulation, raking insulation into your dustpan and into the waste bags. Then with your shop-vac, get any remaining insulation the commercial vac didn’t get. Rinse, repeat until all old insulation is gone. Take a break every 15 or 20 minutes. Toss the filled waste bags in a dumpster. 
  • FIBERGLASS BATT INSULATION: Following the same process with the commercial vacuuming after you have rolled up all the old insulation, place the rolls into waste bags, simply vac up the floors. 
insulation being sprayed onto attic floor

When It Is All Said and Done…

So is it worth replacing attic insulation? Absolutely! Attic insulation can last up to 100 years, but over time, it will lose its efficacy. However, by replacing it every 12 to 15 years, you can be sure that it is doing the best job possible of keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 

How to sanitize an attic

Attic door open with ladder

What is attic cleaning and disinfecting? 

When you spring clean your home from top to bottom, inside out, does that include the attic?  When you do a deep down winter disinfecting, do you do an attic disinfecting too?  Probably not, most people don’t give the attic a passing thought when cleaning and disinfecting their house. 

You’re probably reading this and thinking, who the heck does attic cleaning and disinfecting and why?!  Well, not your everyday neighbors, but you can call an attic cleaning company to do the job for you, including a thorough attic disinfecting. 

There are several services involved with attic cleaning. When they are all completed, you have a fresh attic that is renewed and a clean slate. Okay, so what are the benefits to having an attic disinfecting done? There are several benefits to an attic disinfecting and cleaning process, and once you’ve had it done, you’ll want to make part of your regular home maintenance!  The benefits include: 

Reduced Irritants and Toxins

You would be surprised to know how many irritants and toxins come from your attic that are affecting your family’s health. The indoor air quality of your home is a contributing factor to breathing problems like asthma and other respiratory issues.

The obvious contaminants are cigarette smoke and the secondhand smoke that creates.  The carbon monoxide, and radon gas, dust mite and rodent allergens. Over 80% of all homes in this country have a detectable level of mouse allergens, there is no boundary to the poverty level either. Over 80% of all homes have a detectable level of dust mite allergens in the bedrooms, and over 60% have a detectable level of cockroach allergens. With a professional attic disinfecting and cleaning service, you won’t have anything left to harbor in your attic that can be causing any of the following: 

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
  • Lassa Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Plague
  • Rat-Bite Fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • South American Arenaviruses
  • Tularemia

A professional team will know how to disinfect your attic so that all these allergens, bacteria, and germs that are making your family unhealthy are removed. Disinfecting attic after rats and insects have been nesting and breeding will make a noticeable difference in your family’s breathing abilities. 

Energy Efficiency Increased

The layer of attic insulation that is crucial barrier to the heat transference. With attic disinfecting and cleaning by a professional  attic cleaning company, not only do they know how to clean a dirty attic, but they are also trained in spotting damaged or insufficient insulation and air duct issues. 

Maintenance Expenses Reduced

A professional attic cleaning has trained their team to identify small issues that can become big and expensive problems if not addressed. Like a small roof leak or the HVAC air duct damaged or disconnected, even possible electrical issues that can be a fire hazard. These professional attic disinfecting teams so more than clean and disinfect, they will save you money and time in the long run. 

attic rafters

How much does it cost to get attic cleaned and attic disinfecting done by a professional?

Pricing can vary across the country, in general, the prices start around $150 and go upward to $200 or more, depending on the size of the attic.  Many of these companies offer or partner with other companies that offer junk removal, getting rid of what you need or want, for an additional cost in addition to their attic disinfecting and cleaning services. 

Some even offer organization services that can help you get the attic organized for better usage of that space.  Because after they have completed their attic disinfecting and cleaning, you’re going to want to spend more time in your attic! 

If you’re thinking to yourself, why pay that money when I know how to clean my attic myself, ask yourself when was the last time you did? A thorough attic disinfecting as well as cleaning and disposing of things you no longer need.  Do you have an attic fogger sanitizer or disinfectant spray for attics? Most likely not as effective and powerful as a professional team will have. 

Wouldn’t it be nice to know after you’ve had the lawn serviced and the house cleaned by a professional team, that your attic is also clean, disinfected, and ready to be used?  Maybe you have an elderly parent moving in soon and need more space? 

With a professional attic disinfecting and cleaning, you can create another bedroom for your older children and let the elderly parent take their bedroom. If you’re planning on placing your house on the market, a professional attic disinfecting service could help in bringing you better offers too. 

What if you never use your attic for anything more than storing holiday decorations? Remember, the contaminants from insects and rodents nesting are spreading throughout your home from attic. A professional attic disinfecting service will remove them, and the bacteria and germs left behind, giving your home cleaner air to breathe. Call 817-781-8781 today for attic sanitization in Fort Worth, TX.

What Is Decontamination Cleaning?

dirty attic in need of decontamination

What is attic decontamination and when is it needed?

Attic decontamination is done by attic cleanup companies that not only will remove old junk from your attic, but will also provide attic decontamination services like these:

  • Assess the insulation adequacy and health.
  • Removing old and contaminated insulation.
  • Install new insulation.
  • Identify, remove, and decontaminate any rodent infestation.
  • Address the rodent problem and rodent proof the space.
  • Identify roof damage and leaks. 
  • Identify and perform mold remediation.
  • Remove debris, dirt, and dust.

The wide range of attic decontamination activities are a professional attic cleaning effort that will result with a big impact on the health of your home.  This is especially helpful if you have moved into a home with an attic of unknown condition. 

There may be a shredded and decomposing attic insulation, or small critter and  rodent infestation that is creating a fire hazard of chewed wiring and nest building. It is their specialty of attic pest cleanup that is biggest bonus. The bacteria, germs, and odor that rodents leave behind as the move on, or worse, die in the attic, are spreading throughout your home. The family and any guests are breathing that gross nasty stuff that a professional attic decontamination cleans up. 

If you don’t know how to remove pest from attic, professional attic decontamination services do. Some of the steps they take that know how to rid attic of rodents include: 

  • Remove contaminated, destroyed, and old attic insulation
  • Thoroughly examine insulation for rodent nests.
  • Remove any nests and clean all nesting sites with a shop vac equipped with a HEPA filter.
  • Use a three-phase fog treatment that decontaminates the attic. The three-phase attic fogging treatment is designed to specifically:
  • Eliminate all effects of rodent feces and urine
  • Eliminate all foul odors
  • Breakdown and rid any animal attracting pheromones that attract critters and rodents
  • Exterminate fleas, mites, and other insects

After the attic decontamination and three-phase fogging treatment is completed, new fiberglass insulation will be blown in to replace what was removed. 

Is attic insulation cleanup necessary with attic decontamination service? 

If your attic currently has or has had in the past an infestation of critters or rodents, for an attic decontaminated to be done properly,  removal of contaminated, decaying, and old attic insulation is an absolute must.  

The critters and rodents may be gone, but they have left behind their feces and urine, which are breaking down.  That in turn is spreading harmful bacterial and fungal spores in the air throughout your home. There is a good chance that your family is being made sick from these leftovers. After an animal infestation, a professional attic decontamination is the best way to get your attic 100% clean and sanitized, and that includes attic insulation cleanup, meaning removing the attic insulation. 

Cleaner attic

Why should you get an attic decontamination?

Attic cleaning shouldn’t just be taking stuff out and donate to a local charity once a year. It should be a part of your home maintenance with a regular scheduled attic cleaning  and attic decontamination if you’ve had rodent issues. 

With a professional attic decontamination, allergens and toxins are removed that circulate throughout your home. It will reduce your utility cost because the attic isn’t full of filth that is absorbing the cool air,  and the health issues that a rodent infestation can lead to, why wouldn’t you want an attic decontamination? 

A brief list of common diseases caused by rodent feces are: :

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
  • Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome
  • Lassa Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis
  • Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever
  • Plague
  • Rat-Bite Fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • South American Arenaviruses
  • Tularemia

These diseases can still exist from a rodent infestation even after it has been eradicated. Professional attic  decontamination is a thorough way of dealing with an infestation. Even without a rodent issue, the dust that every attic has can cause health issues, just like dirty air vents. 

When you are ready to hire a professional attic decontamination service, you want to approach this as you would any other type of professional home service like roofing, plumbing, siding, window installation, etc.   

The company should send a technician out to inspect your attic before giving you a firm attic cleanup cost.  They may offer price ranges per square foot for their attic decontamination services, but each attic can have different issues and different amount and types of critter, insect, and/or rodent infestation. Some may have old infestation and some homes have a current issues. Both have some of the same treatment, but a current infestation may need additional services. 

Their written estimate for attic decontamination should list specifically how they will perform their attic cleanup and insulation removal and replacement. Including the R-value of insulation replacement. The written estimate should also include their process for attic cleanup and rodent proofing to prevent any future rodent infestation. Call 817-781-8781 today for your decontamination cleaning in Fort Worth, TX.

Does air sealing work?

air vent

How much does it cost to air seal your home?

Have you installed new windows, added insulation to the attic, and still seem to be losing your warmed air in the winter and cooled air in the summer? You may need to have home air duct sealing done. What is home air sealing?

Home air duct sealing is a methodical method to find air leaking points all throughout your home then sealing those points that are leaking. A home air sealing company will send a team will start in the attic and work down and through the house, checking the exterior walls, into the basement and crawlspace. 

You may think your home is airtight and you’re getting the most from your HVAC system at the least amount of money.  Request an energy audit from your local power provider and you may find out differently. 

One of the largest energy wastes is the air loss in homes, which creates higher energy bills too. Home air duct sealing  the leaks found in an energy audit will prevent any more loss while improving the energy efficiency and the HVAC system’s lifespan. 

There is a good chance there are air leaks in the walls, around the doors and windows that you may not be aware of, and they are not only letting out cooled or warmed air, but they are also creating moisture problems. 

Those moisture problems aren’t letting the HVAC system keep a comfortable temperature in the house, so the thermostat gets adjusted.  That moisture build up is also creating health issues for your family and will eventually start causing structural damage to your home. 

So, how much does a home air duct sealing  job cost? As with anything you have done to your home, there are several “depends” with Home air duct sealing too. Like how many, the location, and the severity of those air leaks on where they are located and how severe they are. 

You get a minimum basic for air sealing existing home of 2,500 square foot for as little a $300 up to about $600.  If you want a full home air duct sealing project, a  2,500 square foot home will run between $2100 and $5200.  

What is the difference in the two different home air duct sealing projects? The more expensive one will include caulking, metal flashing, and weatherstripping where needed. It also includes spray foam insulation. The basic will give you sealing around the primary doors and windows. 

dusty vent

Can you diy home air sealing?

Absolutely, but you’ll want to start with a professional home energy audit. Most utility companies are offering free energy audits these days, it is worth scheduling an appointment. Next, following along with what this audit finds so that you know how to air seal a house, take these steps and you’ll save up to 15% off your energy bills once you have completed your own home air duct sealing: 

  • The Exterior: Any area of your home were two different building materials meet, check for cracks and gaps. This could be where the chimney and siding meet or the foundation and siding, roof, and siding, and around areas where the electrical and plumbing enter the house. 
  • The Walls: Inside, install foam gaskets behind the exterior electrical outlets and light switches. Use those child-proof plug covers to keep unwanted air coming in around the electrical outlets. Insulate behind the cable and phone receptacles, too, small but the home air duct sealing will do wonders with cold air draft this winter. 

No check the baseboards, doors, and windows, for cracks or gaps that air can be getting in (or out). Any wall or window mounted air conditioning units the home air conditioning sealant should be checked too.  If your windows are over 20 years old, consider getting new windows. While that is a costly investment upfront, you’re losing as much as 40% of the air right now, that is money going out the door. 

  • The Basement & Crawlspace: Inspect the rim joists and sill plates and seal any cracks and gaps between them and your home’s foundation. Any holes in the foundation or rim joist where electrical work, HVAC, or hose bibs have been installed should be filled with caulk or spray foam.  Same goes for the dryer vent, gas water heater vent and other protruding vents. Check main floor and basement ceiling ductwork, electrical, and plumbing holes and caulk or spray foam them as part of your home air duct sealing project. 
  • The Attic: Here is where a lot of cooled and warmed air escape!  If you’re going to focus on one area, start in the attic. Have your attic inspected by a profession to evaluate the current insulation. If you don’t want to spend that money, then go forth by sealing up any holes in the attic floor and roof. There could be around light fixtures, stacks, and vents, around the chimney and recessed lighting. 

This may all seem like a lot of work, so you’re questioning Is air sealing worth it? A home air duct sealing job will provide you the following benefits:

  • Consistent temperatures – no more thermostat changes
  • Prevention of ice dams 
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Up to 18% reduction in cooling and heating costs

Need help with your air duct sealing in Fort Worth, TX? Call 817-781-8781 today!

Should Old Insulation Be Removed?

Insulation

Should old insulation be removed?

Today, the concerns of the environment are growing bigger every day in every aspect of our lives. From reusable drinking straws to electric cars and solar power for our homes. The environmental concerns have also brought our attention to the landfills and how quickly they are filling up. With many things we purchase and use today can be recycled, but what about used insulation removal?  

Insulation removal and replacement has gained some great concern over the past few years as more people are buying older homes and flipping them. If you have purchased an existing older home, the Insulation removal from attic is probably a concern, and for good reason. Some insulation materials are unsafe to breath, like fiberglass, there are cautions to take with insulation removal. 

Well, the answer it depends.  How old is the insulation and is the existing insulation damaged or currently wet? Remember, the purpose of insulation in the attic is provide energy-efficiency and to make your home more comfortable. It is damaged or wet, then yes, you need to remove it before you install new insulation. 

ENERGY STAR® suggestion that if you find damaged or wet insulation, find out why it is damaged or wet and resolve that before installing new insulation. If you just put new in without finding the source of the problem, then you’re just setting up the new insulation to be damaged or get wet too. Wet insulation will become problematic as it mildews and grows mold. This leads to rotting the rafters in your attic and then the ceiling.

Is removing insulation dangerous?

 Insulation removal from walls or ceilings may seem easy, but because insulation degrades as it ages, it is more involved than it seems. Some of the insulation is fastened to the drywall, rafters, and studs, making it  challenge to remove the stuff completely and safely.  Reasons you want to search for “a company that offers Insulation removal near me”, are many, including the possible damage you could cause to your home if you’re not careful.  Other reasons that hiring a company are:

  • The Mess: Before attempting to insulation removal is messy, and the older the home and insulation, the messier it gets. Fiberglass based insulation become corroded and decays, turning into a dusty substance that even a professional has challenges to remove the material sufficiently. 
  • The Mold: If your home has every had a plumbing or roof leak where the attic may have been affected, the insulation is probably molded. This may not seem like a big issue until you start removing it and the toxicity of the mold begins to float into the air. 
  • Expertise: A insulation removal company will have the experience with insulation removal, and with their level of experience and knowledge, they can advise you of possible structural issues that should be addressed before installing new insulation. 
  • Efficient and Fast: Insulation removal isn’t going to go as quick as you may think. An experienced company will have the property equipment and tools to remove it correctly, safely, and thoroughly, and faster. 

How do I remove loose insulation?

Hiring a professional company for insulation removal from the attic or your walls is recommended. However, nobody is unaware of budgeting and if you need or want to go the DIY route, the following steps are required to do a complete, safe, and thorough job.

Cellulose Insulation Removal Steps: 

Take safety precautions and wear a mask and gloves, using only a high powered 1500 HP-plus shop vac with adequate suction power for insulation removal. 

  • Cover all the furniture throughout your home with plastic to keep the cellulose insulation dust off. 
  • Purchase large plastic trash bags, construction quality is recommended and available at home improvement stores.  Each bag will need to have all the squeezed from them once full. 

This process will take up to 10 hours, longer if you have more than one attic. 

Fiberglass Batt Insulation Removal Steps: 

Again, wear a mask, gloves, and also googles and long sleeves. 

  • Start at the attic corner farthest from the access point and begin folding/rolling the batts. 
  • As you get to the attic access, stuff the rolled insulation in a large plastic garbage bag. 

Depending on the roof pitch and the number of attic you have, this insulation removal can take up to 8 hours. 

Can you burn old insulation?

You can try, but it will just melt because insulation is made from shredded glass that is simply spun  after being melted. Think of it as cotton candy. So,  fiberglass is non-combustible, but with a really hot fire, it will melt. What will burn is the foil facing and kraft paper which are combustible, household fires are often caused or fueled by the foil and paper parts. 

new insulation

How do I dispose of old insulation?

Once your blown-in cellulose or fiberglass insulation removal is complete, not what? You have dozens of bags filled with insulation sitting in the driveway. Well, you can be fairly sure the sanitation department staff won’t be collecting them. 

You can take them to the local waste management location, but some aren’t equipped to accept and process insulation materials. They will probably redirect you to an insulation dump site where you’ll be charged a hefty fee, could be a few hundred dollars. That is money you could have paid a professional to do your insulation removal for you. Call 817-781-8781 today for your insulation service needs in , TX.

Does Duct Cleaning improve air quality?

dust in an hvac system

Is Air Duct Cleaning a ripoff?

Fall of 2020 and winter of 2021 found us all in quarantine, locked inside our homes with only cautious and quick escapes to the store. This means that we were locked in together, breathing in the air the others were breathing out, and whether it was the ill-fated virus that locked the entire world down, it still wasn’t the healthiest of situations. Especially if your home included pets, then the pet dander was a factor, and all of that has landed in our HVAC ducts

Yes, we can look at any one of the hvac duct for dust collection that accumulated there over the past year, then realize that we’ve all been breathing this in for a year now. You can be certain that even the most cleanest person on earth has dust in their HVAC ducts. Maybe not as much as a household with 10 kids, 6 pets and 2 adults, but yes, there isn’t any HVAC ducts that are dust free, even an empty house will have dust in the air. 

HVAC duct cleaning service has become a popular service over the past few years. You see vans going through neighborhoods with their logo on the side, and they seem to be busy, but you still wonder, it that really a necessary service? While there hasn’t been any research to show your home’s air quality will improve with your HVAC ducts professionally cleaned, nothing has proved it doesn’t help either. 

However, there has been evidence that when dirty cooling and heating, your HVAC system isn’t working as efficient as it should. That includes the coils, motors, and the air handling unit. After you have had your HVAC ducts cleaned by a professional service, ask to see what they removed. Once you realize that was in your home’s HVAC ducts and the air you were breathing in from the vents was blowing across that, you may feel differently. 

HVAC ducts that are professionally services with specialized equipment and tools for hvac duct and vent cleaning, and property hvac duct connectors  that gets more than the dirt and dust. The blowers, brushes, and vacuums, they use to clean the intake, and return ducts are getting all that pet dander too, which you’ve been breathing in all this time. 

Can I clean my air ducts myself?

You can attempt the job of cleaning your own HVAC ducts, but it isn’t recommended. Why? Because the process of getting to the nitty gritty, requires hvac duct cleaning tools. Among those tools are high-powered vacuums and rotary brushes, not equipment or tools that the average homeowner doesn’t have in their garage. In an attempt to clean your own HVAC ducts, you could damage the ducts and have to call a professional to repair them, much more expensive than having a professional HVAC duct cleaning. 

What happens if you don’t clean your air ducts?

As we mentioned earlier in this piece, have your HVAC ducts professional cleaned one time and ask to see what they removed. Then when you see what collects inside your air ducts, you may realize why everyone in the house has allergies and breathing issues. What contaminants exactly collect in the HVAC ducts? 

  • Dust – from your carpet and furniture.
  • Dirt – as it is tracking in from outside, it gets up in the HVAC ducts.
  • Pet dander – if you have a pet, there is dander, and it is getting sucked up into the HVAC ducts.
  • Insects and pest – Yes, there is an assorted amount of insects and pests that make their home in HVAC ducts. This includes mice, roaches, and others. Each time your HVAC system blows air, it is blowing over the bacteria and germs these have left behind. 

Dirty HVAC ducts can make your family sick too. If anyone in your home suffers with chronic health issues or respiratory illnesses, dirty HVAC ducts are only going to make it harder on them. Even the healthiest person in your home will start having coughs, headaches, and sneezing. 

With dirty HVAC ducts, the HVAC system has to work harder and longer, which will show up on your energy bills. You’ll also notice it isn’t cooling or heating as well as it should, and that can all be related to dirty HVAC ducts. 

AC vents

What is the best location for HVAC ducts?

Installing HVAC ducts can be done right, or they can be done wrong, yet there isn’t any hard set rules on where they are to be placed. Why? Because each house is different. One thing for sure, each room in the house should have at least one HVAC duct, and depending on the room size, it may need two or more. 

For the heating, because heat rises, the best place to install HVAC ducts is the floor or at the baseboard. Basements and crawlspaces are good places for HVAC ducts because the heat won’t have to travel as far, making it more efficient. 

So, cleaning HVAC ducts is recommended, but at the end of the day, it is a personal decision.  There are issues to be considered and if you’re noticing a cut in the air flow or an odor coming from the HVAC ducts, it would be worthwhile having them professionally cleaned.  Call 817-781-8781 today for your duct cleaning needs in Fort Worth, TX.