I've discussed our prior experiences with attic issues here at the site more than I'd like to. But, after all our troubles with ice dams in the winter and poorly insulated and vented attics – I thought it could prove helpful to our readers to pass along what I've been learning.
As the fall season is upon us and winter begins to set in, I was recently alerted to a really helpful tip to tell if your attic is properly insulated. And, it's mostly targeted to my fellow northerners and other cold climate inhabitants.
When the weather gets colder and you start to see frost on the ground and other places, pay particular attention to the roof deck on your house. It holds valuable information that could save you thousands of dollars down the road in lost energy costs, as well as avoiding any potential damage from ice dams.
In the following pictures (courtesy of my trusted friends at Cocoon Solutions), you will see how the roof's are showing heat spots where the frost isn't present (white = frost/snow).
In an ideal world, your attic ought to match the outside temperature as much as possible. If this is what's happening in your attic, your roof will likely be showing all frost on your roof deck (as opposed to spotty frost patterns).
According to Cocoon, areas on your roof that have melting snow and areas where snow is building up, means that your attic needs an inspection. Most likely you have some air leaks seeping into the attic space, which is warming your roof deck.
Have a trusted insulator come to your home and do some infrared testing and/or a blower door test to see how “sealed up” your attic is. The problem with insulation repairs is that many of us never inspect the work and it is often an overlooked and neglected piece of the homebuilding process. But, by doing tests before and after work has been completed in your attic, you'll be able to quantitatively tell the difference.
Having a tight attic and proper ventilation will do wonders for your energy bill this winter and save you hundreds of dollars down the road.