The attic is still hot

Infrared_Doug_RyePublication schedules require that I submit this article almost 30 days before it reaches your mailbox. I decide what I am going to write about and how I can best help you by the number of calls I get that relate to a particular subject, and by what I think the situation will be in 30 days.

I wrote the July, “Cooling Off the Attic” column on the first week of June because I knew that attics would start getting really hot in July. I had no idea that we would have record high temperatures all across some states in the month of June and now in July. If we have record weather temperatures, I can assure you that we also have record temperatures in the attics.

I have received a greater response from the July column than from any other column that I have ever ­written. Even as I am now writing this ­column for the August issue, I am still ­getting calls about the July column. Let me make this clear to you. I am not complaining, but am honored to have had the opportunity to help so many of you solve your energy-related problems.I am tempted to just suggest that you go back and read the column again, but I want to teach you even more improvements that relate to an attic.

Remember, the attic may be super hot now, but it may be super cold in four or five months. Either way can affect your comfort and utility bills.

When a house has an attic access hole, an attic pull-down stairway or a whole house attic fan located in the conditioned area of the house, it is almost always a major energy waster. Since heat always moves toward cold, the heat in the house tries to go to the attic in the winter. Transversely, the heat in the attic tries to go into the house in the summer through any spot that is not insulated or air-tight.

An infrared photo of a pull-down attic staircase on a hot summer day reveals a lot. It shows that the staircase ranges from 90 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s trying to heat your house on a summer day, and it’s trying to cool your house on a winter day. Solution: Install an ­insulated cover over opening. Go to for a good solution.

Whole house fan louvers are just as bad as the pull-down staircase, and the house thermostat is usually located right under the louvers. The poor thermostat doesn’t know what to do!

The best solution is to simply disconnect the fan, remove the entire assembly and replace with a finished ceiling. Then cover the entire area with insulation. However, if you wish to retain the unit for future use, call me at the office and I will give you information for a really good solution.

For an attic access hole, weatherstrip the opening and glue rigid foam insulation to the back of the access panel. You see, it really isn’t that difficult to solve another energy problem at your house if you just know what to do. See you in September.

Doug Rye can be heard on several dif­ferent Illinois radio stations. You can go to Doug Rye’s Web site at, e-mail him at, or call 501-653-7931.