For most homeowners, the attic hatch in the hallway or closet ceiling provides occasional access to a seldom visited part of the house. For heat, however, it’s more like a 24/7 gaping hole in the structure’s energy envelope that lets outdoor heat into the house during summer and warm air out in the winter.
In the Cleveland area, a home with less than 12 inches of fiberglass insulation in the attic is considered under-insulated. Despite measures taken to slow down the transfer of heat between living spaces and the attic by adding insulation, however, the attic hatch often goes unnoticed. The heat energy transmitted through a leaky, uninsulated hatch can be up to 38 times greater than the total volume of heat that passes through the entire remainder of the attic floor. That’s a huge hit on your energy conservation strategy, as well as a big hole in your heating and cooling budget.
Here’s what needs to be done to seal an energy-wasting attic hatch:
- Gently pry off the trim surrounding the hatch to expose the joint between the ceiling drywall and the wooden framing that composes the hatch opening. Run a bead of silicone caulking around the perimeter of the joint, sealing gaps that allow air to infiltrate from the attic. Replace the trim.
- Install weatherstripping on the wooden lip where the attic hatch rests. While adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping will last a few seasons, for a more permanent airtight fix use vinyl or silicon bulb-type weatherstripping that compresses under the weight of the hatch and seals efficiently.
- Cut two sheets of 2-inch thick, foil-faced insulated foam board to size 1/2-inch less than the width and length of the hatch. Glue the two sheets atop each other, then glue the finished board to the attic side of the hatch with the foil side facing the attic. This retards heat conduction through the hatch and provides a radiant barrier to reflect heat energy.
For 77 years, Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing has served the homeowners of Greater Cleveland. Call us for more information about stopping expensive energy loss through that leaky attic hatch.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about attic insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
Image courtesy of Shutterstock