Too Little Insulation


Old 03-25-01, 08:36 AM
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We are getting soot or dirt lines on our ceiling. We have painted over them with a primer and they are still coming back.

We have electric heat, stove and oven, so we are not sure if this is soot or just dirt.

Would lack of insuation in the attic cause this condition?
We are located in Southern Indiana and have about 6 inches of blown in insulation in the attic.
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Old 04-04-01, 10:51 AM
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How many floors do you have? If two stories, is the ceiling condition occurring only on the upstairs ceiling?

If so, then you may have in your house what is known as a stack effect. Heat's first propensity is to rise, and that upstairs ceiling is the first place it will go. Along with that all the cooking fumes and smoke and anything else.

Six inches of blown in? that's good below the "Mason Dixon" line, but where you are you could use another 3-6inches in my opinion. You can also lay over 6 inches of fiberglass as long as it is NOT faced with any vapor barrier(paper/tar backing on the downfacing side).

Also, keep 3-6 inches clear of any fan motor boxes, lighting/junctionboxes protrude into the attic, for heat dissapation.

Before thinking about adding insulation, check your entire top-most ceiling plane for any cracks/holes. You'll notice the soot/dust lines concentrated more around these spots. Also, if you have attic access, is that weatherstripped?

For hairline cracks I actually use paintable caulk, and paint over it, same for small holes. The first step to eliminate the stack effect is a tight ceiling plane.\

In the future, think about adding a bathroom or whole house uptake fan if you haven't already. They have louvers that shut automatically when it's turned off, so you don't lose any heat. But they make cake out of clearing out a smokey house!

Good luck,



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