Spray Foam vs Open

Winterizing – Ceiling holes

As you sit in the living room or family room or for that matter anywhere in your home take a minute and look up at the ceiling.  Typically there are lots of things to look at.  I’ll bet you have ceiling lights, ceiling fans, exhaust fans, heat lamps, kitchen fans, and the list goes on and on.

Every single one of those “things” that are in the ceiling all begin with some sort of hole being cut through the sheetrock; that makes room for the fixture.  It makes all kinds of sense for that hole to be as close in size to the fixture that’s being installed whether it’s a light or a fan or whatever.  Despite everyone’s best effort the hole and the fixture never match exactly, there is always a space that is open to becoming part of the warm air’s Path that we have discussed in other blog posts.  (Back on 10/29)

Today’s photographs show the same job done correctly and, well………., not so correctly.  The nasty looking pink stuff is actually spray foam that has completely sealed the hole surrounding the white PVC pipe; the foam makes that ceiling penetration air tight, it cannot be part of the air’s Path.  The second part of the picture shows a blue electrical box, probably part of a ceiling light; take a look and first you will see the spray foam is not there.  Secondly, look carefully around the blue box and you will see a space that is just perfect for air to move. 

Don’t forget that on the “warm side” of the sheetrock (the inside) the air is under pressure forcing it through any space available.  The Cold Air Penetration in the basement is forcing the warm air upwards through any and all possible cracks, crevices, or tiny holes.  Put all those holes together and it can easily equal an open window.

SOLUTION – today’s solution is cheap and very effective!  Go up in the attic with a can of spray foam, seal around all of the various fixtures and penetrations.  The difficult part of today’s solution is finding all of those penetrations.  We will bet that most if not all of the ceiling penetrations are covered with insulation making it difficult and messy to find the penetrations and spray them shut.  Your work will make a significant improvement in your home’s energy efficiency.

After thought – remember to put all the insulation back nice and neat.  And for those of you thinking you just might wait until next summer to do this……, don’t!  Do it now when it is cold, you will sweat and get tangled with the insulation much less in the cold.  Have fun!

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