Attic with no access to install insulation


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Old 02-07-24, 02:53 PM
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Attic with no access to install insulation

I live in a split in the Chicago area. The 2nd level (bedroom level) has attic access where insulation exists. However, the lower level (kitchen / living room) of the split has its own attic that is not accessible to blow in insulation.

BACKGROUND
We had a new roof installed 2 years ago that included new gutters, soffit and facia. As part of the installation process, the roofer was supposed to check the level of insulation in both the upper and lower attics and advise us if any additional insulation was needed. Well, this did not happen.

In addition, continuous air vents holes on the soffits were installed around the entire house. Before the new roof was installed, there were air vents on the soffits about every 8 feet.

PROBLEM
Cold air is shooting through the light cans in kitchen and there is unusual coldness in kitchen cabinets. Since there is no access to the lower level attics, I had a insulation contractor over for a quote. Their proposed solution was:
1. Cut hole in ceiling in lower level to gain access to attic and blow in insulation.
2. Install roof fan on lower level roof.

QUESTIONS
1. I suspect option #1 above is the best approach but I am curious if there are any other option to get insulation in the lower level attic?
2. When the roof was installed, the roofer removed my old roof attic fan. They said with the increase in the number of roof vents they installed and soffit air vents around the entire house I would not need a roof fan. Who is correct?

Thanks for any opinions. George
 

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02-08-24, 05:23 AM
Pilot Dane
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1. I would add access to the attic like the contractor recommended. It can be a simple access opening between joists so there is no structure to deal with. With access it could help with installing insulation rated recessed fixtures.

2. Since we don't know how much venting you have it's hard to advise. Simply adding soffit vents doesn't do much. You need air circulation and for that soffit vents with a ridge, gable or through the roof vents are a good idea. It's best if you have the soffit vents down low and then other vents located up high. That way the natural convection will draw fresh air through the attic even when the wind isn't blowing.
 
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Old 02-07-24, 03:11 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

No matter what... you need an inspection done in the lower attic.
Is there any less noticeable place where access can be installed ?
You could use a camera thru one of the recessed fixtures.

It's concerning that you are getting air coming out of the fixtures.
They are supposed to be sealed in the presence of insulation. They may need to be replaced.

The consensus is 50/50 on roof fans.
I believe in attic fans.
I have two fans in my attic.... a large one on the gable with louvers and a rooftop unit.
 
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Old 02-08-24, 05:23 AM
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1. I would add access to the attic like the contractor recommended. It can be a simple access opening between joists so there is no structure to deal with. With access it could help with installing insulation rated recessed fixtures.

2. Since we don't know how much venting you have it's hard to advise. Simply adding soffit vents doesn't do much. You need air circulation and for that soffit vents with a ridge, gable or through the roof vents are a good idea. It's best if you have the soffit vents down low and then other vents located up high. That way the natural convection will draw fresh air through the attic even when the wind isn't blowing.
 
gls555, jeweler voted this post useful.
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Old 02-08-24, 06:53 AM
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I am with Pilot Dane.
Install an access pane. You are going to need it so you can see what is going on.
You have roof and soffit vents so if the contractor knew what they were doin you should be OK.
Note that is not a good idea to just blow in more insulation as you can/will block the soffit vents.
Also the light cans etc. should be sealed first.
 
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Old 02-09-24, 12:50 PM
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Pilot Dane

Thanks for your response. The soffit vents are low and extend the entire length of the gutter and the other vents are high.

Pete,
Thanks for comments on sealed light fixtures.

George


 
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Old 02-10-24, 07:20 AM
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Is there a garage attached to that level? Often you can cut an access up high in the garage attic to access the livable space attic.

Can lights need to be IC-rated for insulation to be in contact with them. If they are not IC-rated replacing them would be the best option. This is fairly easy and can be retrofitted without damaging the drywall.
 
 

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