Small investment to insulate attic door will save a bundle on heating & cooling
We perform energy audits on hundreds of homes each year and almost every home we go to has one thing in common – the blower door test and thermal scan reveal major air exchange between the attic and living space. Here’s an example:
The reason that the attic hatch/door is always an energy loser is two-fold. Attic doors and attic hatches don’t seal as tight as a regular door so conditioned air escapes into the attic from around the periphery of the opening. Secondly, the attic door doesn’t have insulation over it like the rest of the floor of a traditionally insulated attic. The lack of insulation allows for radiant heat transfer through the door as you can see in the infrared image above. The solution is easy and inexpensive and you certainly don’t need a pro to do it. You can pay $130-$160 for a zip up attic tent on Amazon. When installing the tent, utilize expanding foam such as Great Stuff to seal the base of the tent to the attic floor. A lower cost solution is to pick up a basic R10 attic tent available at Home Depot. These basic attic tents are just like double faced fiberglass batts that come in a dome shape. These are not as good as a zip up tent but a lot better than nothing and it only costs about $50. It will take you all of 5 minutes to install and you just push it aside when you need to get into the attic. Here’s a link to both products:
Making your home more energy efficient can sound like a daunting task. However, it just takes a series of small steps like anything else worthwhile in life. So my advice is to start with the low hanging fruit. Installing an attic tent is about as easy and inexpensive so this is a great place to start.