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Roof Talk & More - Insulation & Ventilation

Ventilation & Building Science, from Fine Homebuilding (Summer2012)

City of Palo Alto Roofing Guidelines

All About Attics & Ventilation

Critters In Your Roofing System


Insulation & Ventilation Work Together To Save Energy

It might sound contradictory when you hear an attic must be well insulated and properly ventilated, but it’s not. You need to have enough insulation between your living area and the attic above it to prevent heat from escaping. That saves money on your energy bills. If heated air escapes into your attic in the winter, it will melt the snow on your roof (for those of you in the mountain areas of California), and the snow will refreeze down by the gutters, causing icicles and dams… and later problems for your roof.

One of the biggest sources of heat in the attic is recessed lighting—in ceilings that back into a cold zone, like the attic.

If you insist on having recessed lights that back into the attic, be sure to install the correct type. Building codes require all recessed lights in an insulated ceiling to be IC, or insulation contact. That’s a safety issue, particularly if an unlicensed contractor, like a handymen or a “do-it-yourselfer”, both of whom might not know better and want to save money, use the wrong kind.

But IC isn’t necessarily air-tight. Hot air will still escape from the fixture. Use LED or CFL lights, which give off less heat to minimize this risk. As always, it’s best to rely on a licensed and insured contractor to have the job done correctly.

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