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Wilson, NC
reply to MrFixit1

Re: Drafty, cold air vents in ceiling. HELP!

Top of heat pump

Center of heat pump

Bottom of heat pump
The insulation is probably as old as the town home which was originally built in '80 or '81. I did inspect the attic and noticed in certain areas, especially towards the edge of the roof, there was light coming through and in those areas there was about 3 feet of insulation missing from the edge inward. I bought a roll of insulation. Went into the attic and pushed the insulation down towards the edges and then filled the remaining spaces (which was made by pushing the insulation towards the edge of the house) with new insulation. It's very hard to get to the edge of the house in the attic because the ceilings below my feet come to a "point" if you will. Or rather, they make an upside down "v" like a roof and then you have the actual roof (upside down "v") coming down on your back. So, it's an extremely tight squeeze at the edges. In fact, it's really unreachable. There aren't any breaks in the perimeter of the walls or anywhere else that I know of and I have looked. Good idea checking with the energy audits. I will look into that today. Thanks! And sorry, I can't really describe the HVAC system any better than that. I have pics, but don't know if that will help. I don't know why, but they uploaded sideways.


Madison, WI

My apologies , when I was referring to the HVAC system , I should have specified the ducting more so than the heat pump itself . Is it possible to take some pictures of the attic area ?
I think I know what you mean , but not sure .
Hopefully by pushing insulation to the walls you did not block airflow for venting the attic area .
You may want to look towards the peak of the roof and see if you can find any roof vents .
Ideally you want good airflow in the attic area , but the attic area " sealed " from the rest of the house as far as heat flow is concerned .
Since you have started to seal the fireplace as a air leak , I kind of wonder were the cold air from the ducts is coming from .
Any possibility your heat pump has a fresh air intake from outside ?


Wilson, NC

fan on roof

Click for full size
peak of roof
Click for full size
Click for full size
one duct
I hope these pics help. The fan is moving. It's not a great pic of the roof outside, but the best I could do. There's the chimney, a fan and there's a small pipe on the far right. As you can see in the last two pics, towards the back, there is light coming through. It's actually a space in the wall that goes all the down to the bottom floor. If you look closely you can see a large metal pipe running vertical. That is the chimney. The dryer vent hose also falls inside this "hole" but not all the way down. Now, the silver box and one duct that you see is NOT connected to the A/C or heat pump. I assume it's some type of return. Underneath the silver "box" is a 14x14 vent in the ceiling of the hall way upstairs. That duct runs and connects to another 14x14 vent in the ceiling of the living room. There was cold air falling out of both vents. I covered those with plastic because as far as I can tell it wasn't doing anything useful in my book, but obviously I could be wrong. Like I said I don't know much about this stuff. Also, behind the peak of the insulation the attic goes down behind that. In other words, you're looking at one half of the ceiling in the attic or rather, just like the roof peaks so do the ceilings in each bedroom. I did call my utilities company and they said they would come out tomorrow and do a home audit for free. However, if anyone here has an opinion I would still love to hear it! Please!!!

Premium,ExMod 2000-03
NW Illinois

You have a self-powered roof ventilator (the fan) and also it appears a vented ridge cap. (the peak). The light showing through should be coming from the soffit area, which is the flat portion directly above where your security light is mounted. That is required to be a clear ventilation pathway, as the cooler air will come up from the soffit, passing through the attic space and then out the fan and/or ridge vent. The insulation in the attic needs to be pulled back clear of that.

It is not generally good practice to have a vent fan *and* a ridge vent however, since the air can then simply come in one and out the other, and not actually ventilate the attic space. But that's another topic.

Now, the "silver box" and duct is likely a return, and you should be able to see the plastic suck into those vents when the heat is on. It is also likely that since they are not insulated and in a cold space (the attic should be cold in the winter) what you are feeling is simply cold air "falling" out of the vents due to that box being cold and cooling the air that is within it. I would certainly think they need to be properly insulated from above.

As a final note, where does that dryer vent go? Is there a vent to the outside I hope?


Madison, WI
reply to itsme74

Definitely time to get a pro in to look at things .
I believe mattmag has called it on the source of the light , but there really should be more than 1 vent , so you might want to see if you plugged any of the others .
This part "It's actually a space in the wall that goes all the down to the bottom floor has me just a little concerned though .
Does the chimney run through this space ?
Not sure of the codes there , but surprised there are no fire stops .
Please let us know what the audit people find .