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    Unfortunately, the code does not address situations where HVAC equipment or ducts impede access to all parts of an attic, or scissor trusses for a cathedral ceiling in the center of the home make access to the other side difficult. We often recommend installation of a second access hatch when these problems are encountered, but it is not required by the code.

    It’s a good idea to seal and insulate your attic access opening to reduce heating and cooling cost. Here’s what the EPA EnergyStar program recommends:

    Finish up by sealing the access hatch with self-sticking weather stripping. If your hatch rests directly on the moldings, add 2-1/2 inch wide stops around the opening. The stops provide a wider surface for attaching the weatherstrip and a space to mount hook-and-eye fasteners. Position the screw eyes so the weatherstrip is slightly compressed when the hooks are latched. Cut a piece of fiberglass or rigid foam board insulation the same size as the attic hatch and nail or glue it to the back of the hatch.

    If you have pull-down attic stairs or an attic door, these should be sealed in a similar manner: weatherstrip the edges and put a piece of rigid foam board insulation on the back of the door. Treat the attic door like a door to the outside. Pre-made insulated attic stair covers are also available from local home improvement centers or on the Web.

    To read about issues related to pull-down attic ladders, see our blog post “What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?”

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

More Blog Posts on Home Safety:

  1. Why is the attic painted silver?

  2. How do I clean up rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) urine and droppings in attic insulation?

  3. Why is the attic painted silver? What do you check when you inspect an electric garage door?

  4. What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

  5. What causes cracks in a driveway?

  6. When should I replace my smoke alarms?

  7. Why are window security bars dangerous?

  8. Are house numbers required by law in front of a house?

  9. How can a tree damage my house?

  10. What can I do right now to prepare my house for a hurricane?

  11. How do you inspect a dryer vent?

  12. What is radon? Should I be concerned about it in Gainesville?

  13. What is a “cross connection” in a home’s plumbing system?

  14. Is a bare bulb light in a closet alright?

  15. What safety checks will limit my tenant liability in a rental house?

  16. Are carbon monoxide alarms required to be installed in Florida?

  17. What are the requirements for a room to classified as a bedroom?

  18. How can I know how much damage there is inside a wall if the inspector found termites in the baseboard?

  19. How can formaldehyde gas in the house be a problem?

  20. How can I check my garage door to make sure it is safe?

  21. What can I do to avoid kitchen accidents and injuries?

  22. When is a railing required for the edge of a deck or porch?

  23. Why does my concrete floor slab sweat and get slippery?

  24. Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard?

  25. Why is vermiculite attic insulation a problem for both buyers and sellers of a home?

  26. What are the common causes of ceiling stains in a house?

  27. What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic?

  28. Why are most house roofs slanted instead of flat?