Basements and attics often to blame for home energy loss

Homeowners cannot be blamed if they ignore their basements and attics as they work toward home energy efficiency. After all, unless these locations are finished, residents have little reason to spend a bulk of their time in the highest and lowest portions of their properties. As any Washington, D.C. home inspector can professes, though, these two locations could be responsible for much of a home's energy problems.

"There's a constant flow through all the joints and connections that exist in the building so typically when someone comes in to air seal the home the two places they spend a lot of time is up in the attic and then down in the basement getting the cold to stop leaking into the basement and getting the heat to stop leaking out from the attic," Paul Crovella, from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, told New York news source YNN Rochester.

During an energy audit, an experienced inspector should be able to determine whether attics or basements are not properly sealed off. Homeowners may consider installing insulation and adding caulking to any windows. Close attention should also be paid to the spots at which attic and basement walls abut the rest of the home, as they are often responsible for any air leaks.

Inspectors might also recommend the use of an attic ventilator during the summer to keep attics cool and prevent air conditioning from running constantly during the summer. This is a fairly simple addition to make, although it can produce lasting savings if done properly. In the winter, attic temperature moderation can actually help reduce mold growth. If the attic gets too hot, air could condense on the cold underside of a roof – that water could then drip down into the attic and produce mold spores.