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If you have an attic, chances are you have a substantial heat loss if your attic door or hatch is not properly sealed.  For most of us, the attic and attic doors are not the first item we think of when we think of heat loss.  Usual suspects are windows, doors and outside facing walls.  How many times do you go up to the attic in your house anyways?

We had an air leak test in our 30 year old home and although our attic was rated above average for insulation, the attic hatch or better described in our home as the sheet of plywood held up by four latches, was just as effective as a 24 square inch hole in the side of the house.  During our EnerGuide test, our poor excuse of an Attic Hatch was the third item on the list of offending items to address.

I could have just worked with the sheet of plywood and some weatherstripping, but I wanted to address the size of the hatch as well so I opted for an engineered hatch from the local hardware store.  The pre-fabricated attic hatch is built with a sturdy structured pine frame, one and a half inch thick insulated door with magnetic strip that keeps the door air tight against the accompanying magnetic weather stripping on the hatch frame.  This system works like the seal on a fridge door.  The weight of the door sitting on the magnetic weather strip keeps it nice and tight, but also easy to remove for access to the attic.  For the price, ease of installation and piece of mind, you cannot go wrong with one of these pre-fabricated units.  All that was needed was to cut the existing hole to 32 inches and the attic hatch fit snug between the rafters.  I used caulk and insulation foam to create a tight seal around the frame and the rafters.

This is a pretty easy upgrade and good bang for your buck.  The entire process should take approximately 2 hours from start to cleanup.   Basic hand tools and handyman knowledge is required, but I would not consider this out of anyone's league.  If you own a saw, hammer, drill, 3ft level and a measuring tape you should be good to go.  Don't forget to seal the deal, pun intended, with caulk and insulating foam after the hatch is level and securely attached.

If you are wondering what the number 1 and number 2 items on the EnerGuide to do list where: Basement insulation and replace old leaky windows and doors.  Windows and Doors have been replaced and we hope to move on to insulating the basement before Winter comes to Atlantic Canada ;o)

Until the next time... Keep it Green!

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