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Old 12-09-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


We have a fan in our attic, and directly below it is (unsurprisingly) a bit chilly. We do use it in the spring and fall, but I'm thinking it is basically a huge hole in the ceiling and we should do something to seal it over the winter.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Two notes: The access into the attic is limited to a 2'x2' hatch, and I haven't crawled out to it yet, just poked my head up there to take the pic.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:18 AM   #2
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


My solution was twofold:

1) I glued up a slab of 2-inch thick styrofoam, then cut out a blank the same size as the framed box the fan sits atop. I lift the fan, slide the foam blank into the opening, then replace the fan.

2) After inserting the foam, I cover the fan with a double layer of an old canvas tarpulin to further block air drafts.

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Old 12-10-2009, 11:24 AM   #3
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


Quote:
but I'm thinking it is basically a huge hole in the ceiling
Ayuh,... So what does it look like on the ceiling side,..??
Is it possible a Cover could be fashioned tastefully for That side,..??
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:46 AM   #4
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... So what does it look like on the ceiling side,..??
Is it possible a Cover could be fashioned tastefully for That side,..??
Not very easily. Unfortunately it is half over stairs.

Edited to add: I did consider using some of that window shrinkwrap, but couldn't figure out a way to do it safely with just an extension ladder.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:05 PM   #5
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


Roger, thanks for your idea. I considered something along those lines, but instead of pulling the fan, I was thinking of making a box to cover it out of Styrofoam insulating panels. The challenge being, of course, dragging it up there piece by piece and assembling it in place.

Another thing I considered was a water heater blanket modified to fit over it and taped down to the edges. Is this reasonable? And is a vapor barrier something I need to consider one way or another?

Edited to add: Would a layer plastic sheeting taped in place under the blanket be a good idea also?

Last edited by Blondesense; 12-10-2009 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:12 PM   #6
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


Quote:
Not very easily. Unfortunately it is half over stairs.

Edited to add: I did consider using some of that window shrinkwrap, but couldn't figure out a way to do it safely with just an extension ladder.
Ayuh,... Whether it took extention ladders, step-ladders, staging or Whatever,...
It appears to me, that it would be much easier to fix this at the ceiling, rather than in the attic...

Though Ugly, a single square of rigid foam insulation could be wedged into the hole...
Covering the foam with wood or paneling matching the ceiling would Look better,...
Possibly hinging it for permanent mounting,...
Or, double hinged dual doors, folding it 2 directions,..
Or, By-folds,...
Or,.?.?.?.
Or, A single panel cover could sit on catches over the stairs with latches that can be reached from upstairs...
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:25 PM   #7
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


I'd do it from the ceiling side too
Much easier to install & remove two times every year - even with the stairs
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:29 PM   #8
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


I had the same dilemma with a whole house fan I installed at my previous place.

I never came up with a great solution to it , just crawled through attic to cover in plastic every winter, threw a few glass batts over it also.

I picked my fan up at grainger , I see they now have covers for the inside.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/2NXJ8
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:21 PM   #9
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


You could make some kind of sliding door that goes over it, the door could be a piece of varnished plywood (try to get the same color as the ceiling) with foam on top, it would just slide over the hole. Maybe some kind of sealing strip so it's snug against the ceiling.

Idealy an insulated box with a trap door over the fan inside the attic would work but it would be kind of hard to do.
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:26 AM   #10
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


Thanks everyone for your suggestions. You've given me a lot to think about.
I think that you are all right that it would be easier to access this from inside. My concern is with my limited tools and abilities making it look professional and not just like a piece of foam stuck to the ceiling.

I already have some thick plastic sheeting and weatherproofing tape so I may just crawl up there, seal it for this winter, and work on a permanent solution this spring as my work shop is usually the driveway (brrrrr).

High Gear, thanks for the link. That is something I hadn't even considered. I'm better with a sewing machine than with shop tools.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:32 PM   #11
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


I put some velcro tape along the corners of the grille frame in the hallway and then cut some 3/4 inch styrofoam panels to fit over the grille using the other side of the velcro. I lined the edges of the panels with that small air cell stick on insulating tape to stop air loss along the edges of the panels. I split the stryofoam panels in half to reduce the strain on the velcro tape, also using velcro on the center rib of the grille and on the edges of the strofoam panels. I also built a styrofoam frame around the fan in the attic and again used styrofoam panels to form a lid over the fan and then I put six inch insulation on the top of the frame. Works good for me.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:39 PM   #12
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Sealing or insulating attic fan


Quote:
I'm better with a sewing machine than with shop tools.
Ayuh,... In that case,... Sew a tasteful cover from the foam block 'n hang it from the ceiling...
The actual fabric could act as caulking for the edge/ fit....

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