For a week or so we have been wandering around down in the basement closing up and sealing off spots where there’s Cold Air Penetration. We’ve looked at the tub, basement drain, crevice along the top of the foundation, hole where the water line enters, and so on. So today let’s go upstairs to the first floor and see what is going on there.
Down in the basement we are fighting Cold Air Penetration. Up in the house we are fighting The Path that warm air takes as it tries to escape from your house.
There are many culprits to places where warm air rises through The Path and escapes taking precious heat with it. However, one of the most obvious and potentially problematic places is the ubiquitous ceiling Recessed Can Light.
Let’s face it, these types of lights are VERY popular and are used everywhere. The only problem is that they create a huge hole in the ceiling creating a marvelous Path for Heat Loss.
If you live in a two-story home the use of recessed lights on the first floor is probably ok because the heat that is lost will go upstairs and heat the bedrooms upstairs. But, if you live in a one-level Ranch Style home those same recessed lighting fixtures are a huge source of heat loss.
The problem is that most of the time they are improperly installed day-one. When the light fixtures are installed a circular hole must be cut through the ceiling. Those fixtures are seldom sealed off properly. The right way is to have the same amount of insulation up in the attic on top of the fixture as there is everywhere. Somehow that seldom happens. Typically the insulation is “flat” across the attic, that tells you there is much less insulation on top of the recessed can then everywhere else. There’s the problem!
Secondly, the hole that is cut for the light fixture is always a tad too big so that the fixture will easily fit. That extra space needs to be sealed off with Fire Retardant Foam.
There are several types of foam, always make sure you use Fire Retardant Foam!