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A chimney for every hallway Craig


H


ave you ever considered equipping your hallway with its own chimney? No need. Tere is one there already. And guess what? Te flue is wide


open! Okay, so we aren’t talking about a conventional chimney.


But, if your home has an attic fan (also known as a whole- house fan), you may have the energy-robbing equivalent of a fireplace with an open flue. Without even seeing it, I can almost say for certain


that it is leaking. Even if all the louvers are in place, there is enough gap space around each louver to create what amounts to a very large hole in your ceiling that leads directly into the attic. Of course, I only call attic fans “chimneys” because


they draw air just like a chimney. In most cases, attic fans are drawing conditioned air—air you have paid to cool or heat—from inside your home into the attic and then eventually on out into the great outdoors. Tis is happen- ing 24 hours-a-day, all year long—yes, even in the summer months. Te attic fan doesn’t discriminate. When I ask homeowners if they actually use their attic


fans, they almost always answer with an enthusiastic YES! However, when I ask how oſten the device is used, they usually say a couple of days in the spring and then a couple of days in the fall. Ten the conversation usually evolves into a lively discussion regarding allergies, pollen and the generally dirty air associated with the fan. You might be one of the few who have actually ventured


into the attic to stuff insulation in, over, around and on top of the attic fan. But that has done little to stop the air infiltration. You may have even stapled a plastic sheet over the fan louvers on the interior side three years ago. But now the sheet has drooped, leaving many gaps at its edges so this method has also been very ineffective. So, you ask: Craig, how can I fix the problem? Te best way to deal with this situation is to have the fan removed,


Hendrickson Residential Energy Auditor


the cavity insulated and the hole filled. Aſter you remove the fan, please do not be tempted to fill the hole with pull- down attic stairs. Tese are at the very least as bad as attic fans. Te garage is the best place to install both pull-down stairs and an attic fan. If you do not want to remove the attic fan, you can install


an insulated cover with a reflective layer on the inside of the home. Tis will stop most of the air infiltration, as well as add some R-value. Tis second method is not as effec- tive but is much better than doing nothing. You can pur- chase attic fan covers online. Simply type “attic fan cover” into your search engine and you will find several options available.


10 - Northeast Connection


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