While maintaining a nice warm home is a comforting part of winter, the related energy expenses can cause a lot of stress. Fortunately, it isn't as hard as you might think to lower your heating bills. If you would like to learn more about preparing your home for winter, read on. This article will teach you how to keep your energy bills down by eliminating one common cause of heat leaks: your attic hatch.
Step 1: Eliminate gaps around the frame.
Some sort of decorative trim is usually installed around the border of most attic hatches. The purpose of this trim is to improve the appearance of the hatch's frame when viewed from below. Unfortunately, in fulfilling this function, it often masks a common problem: large gaps between the hatch frame and the ceiling around it.
Remove a portion of your trim so that you can inspect whether or not the perimeter of the frame has been insulated. If not, you'll want to remove all of the trim to correct the problem. All you'll need to insulate gaps with a width of 1" or less is a tube of acrylic caulk. If the gap's width is greater than 1", seal it up through the application of spray foam.
Step 2: Ensure the hatch sits flush against the top of the frame.
The hatch cover is attached to the frame on the attic side. In most cases, it is comprised of nothing more than a piece of plywood secured by a hinge to the frame. Over time, due to its exposure to wide fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels, this plywood is susceptible to becoming warped and misshapen.
The problem here is that a warped hatch cover can no longer sit flush against the frame. In other words, there will be numerous gaps that allow hot air to escape upward into your attic. Fortunately, you can stop this type of heat leak by affixing lengths of weatherstripping to the top of your frame. The idea here is that the compressible weatherstripping will ensure a tight seal, even if the hatch cover itself is somewhat warped.
Step 3: Attach insulation to the top of the hatch cover.
As you can probably imagine, the plywood out of which your hatch cover is made doesn't exactly offer a ton of insulation on its own. Installing rigid foam insulation to the top of the cover is therefore a great way to reduce the amount of heat migrating upward through that thin board. All you have to do is cut the insulation to size and use wood glue to attach it--foil side down--to the top of the hatch cover. Contact a business, such as Tracy's Insulation, Inc., for more information.