When it comes to home energy efficiency, attics can be an easy spot to overlook. Most of us don’t pay much attention to the attic door on a daily basis, but air leaks and poor insulation can be a major problem when it comes to keeping your home comfortable without breaking the bank. The fix was quick and easy and cost less than $15 to complete. We made a trip to Home Depot to pick up a new 2 ft x 2 ft drywall panel ($5), 2 ft x 2 ft foam insulation panel ($5.50), and a roll of high density foam weatherstrip ($2.50).
Our attic door is in Mya’s closet, so stepping in there in the middle of summer made it pretty obvious our attic hatch wasn’t the most airtight. The idea of throwing money away as our cool air seeps into the attic is unsettling, but watching the temperature rise (thanks to our trusty baby monitor) in our little girl’s room on those hot summer nights was the tipping point to making some upgrades.
Taking a closer look, the piece of drywall serving as the attic cover was too small and the edges of the lip that the door sat on were rough, creating more gaps for air to leak through.
First step was fitting the new door. I used a utility knife to shave down the rough edges the door sits on and to cut the new drywall panel to size. Our attic opening wasn’t perfectly square, so it took some careful measuring and a couple rounds of trimming to fit the imperfections. Since the new door was a little more snug, I went ahead and added a small handle that we already had to help pull the hatch into place.
Next, the insulation panel was attached to the back of the drywall with some foam-friendly adhesive (we used latex/silicone caulk since we already had it on hand). We could probably stand to layer on some more insulation (tack on another $10-$15), but the single panel is definitely an improvement over the previous state. Conveniently, we had some left over ceiling paint stored in the basement so we were able to color match the new door. Finally, the foam weatherstrip was applied along the edges of the door to help ensure a tight seal.
Pulling the new and improved door into place, it certainly looks to do a better job of sealing off the attic. We hope as we move out of the hot summer and toward the cold of winter, we will see a steadier temperature in Mya’s room and some smaller numbers on our utility bills.
Have you made any energy efficient upgrades to your home? We would love to hear about your projects and tips for a more comfortable, cost effective home.