Winterizing – Attic access panel

Winterizing – Attic access panel

Yesterday we talked about recessed can lights creating a path.  Remember the huge hole in the floor under the tub/shower?  Probably the biggest hole in the ceiling is in every home; it is the Attic Access Panel.

Just as the tub/shower hole was a true villain and caused all kinds of problems the Attic Access Panel is probably the biggest hole in your ceiling.  And, as a result will contribute greatly to the Heat Loss in your home.

It goes this way – the “Insulation Guy” goes up in the attic, installs insulation, makes your home warm and cozy, and as he leaves he climbs down the ladder into the hall and closes the Attic Access Panel as he descends the ladder.  The “Insulation Guy” carefully closes the panel and places it in the trim boards or whatever that holds it in place.  Problem solved?  NOPE !

We are willing to bet that 99% of the time there is no insulation on top of the Attic Access Panel.  Good friends of ours live in a beautiful brand new apartment building and their Attic Access Panel is in the walk in closet.  During the winter vast amounts of cold air fall through the panel and large amounts of condensation form on the top side of the panel.  That condensation will on occasion cause it to “rain” in the closet.  

Ok, for all of you that think, “…I must get up into the attic for storage” I think with today’s roofs being built using a truss system the attic is basically unusable space which leaves us wondering why there is an attic access panel?

The attic needs to be accessible so the plumber can install vents through the roof and so insulation can be installed.  Once those things are done the attic is virtually never used.  So, how do I solve the problem of the attic access panel?

SOLUTION – if the Attic Access Panel is located outside in one of the gable ends it doesn’t cause problems inside the house yet still allows the plumber and insulation guy to do their thing.  I’d love to take credit for this idea but honestly it comes directly from a Vermont Department of Energy workshop.  Thanks for the idea!

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