We know the stuff you store up there is precious — but do you really need to pay to keep it warm all winter?
I’ll bet you think that keeping the heat in your house and out of your attic is just about energy conservation, or saving a few bucks during the winter. And you’re only wrong about one thing — that isn’t ALL it’s about.
Most people don’t realize that heat build up in the attic can actually cause a lot of damage to your roof structure and attic space. You’re not only losing money on your heating bill, you’re running the risk of bigger repair bills down the road for structural repairs or even roof replacement.
Here’s why; the attic space should be as close to the outside temperature as possible regardless of time of year. Because a large difference in your attic temps compared to outside temperature results in vapor buildup. That means moisture is accumulating in your attic. Which isn’t good for your house, and it’s not so great for all those precious memories you’ve got stored up there either.
Pull down attic stairs are one of the most leaky culprits for letting hot air (which just naturally WANTS to go up into the attic) out of the space you’re living in and into the space you need to protect.
A relatively easy solution is to insulate the attic stairs. One option, which you see pictured here, is to put fiberglass insulation between the steps. That’s a quick, simple approach, however it’s not very effective (or attractive.)
A solution that will take a little more time, and tools, but will provide a tighter seal and insulation that’s not visible to anyone who doesn’t know where to look is to build a box from one-and-a-half or two-inch extruded foam sheathing (ask for it at any big box home improvement store.) You will need a special adhesive to glue this pieces of foam together and to attach the box to a plywood top.
The top of the attic opening is basically a box, so build your foam box to fit on top of that box. You can then fill the box with fiberglass insulation, and attach a plywood top for weight to help seal the foam box to the stair frame box.
There, now you have a (fairly) attractive, stable, and effective barrier to all that hot air that’s trying to escape through your attic stairs.
For more energy saving, and home preserving tips check out 3 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Winter.
(As mentioned in the 3 Tips post, heat escaping into your attic is one of the main reasons that your roof builds up ice dams. I promised to give you more details about how you can keep your home safe in winter, and this is part of that promise. More to come. I promise.)
Hope these tips help. If you start now, you can have it all done before it gets really cold. Enjoy the winter instead of thinking about that drafty front door.
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Left Photo: Flickr/Lisa Jacobs
Right Photo: Flickr/Brandon Carson