Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cleaning out the Attic

It started out as an Energy Audit...

When we had our new furnace installed recently, our HVAC guy suggested we get an energy audit done.  Our house has extreme temperature differences on the upper and lower floors.  Part of this is because it is a raised ranch, and the lower level is half underground.  So the basement will always be cooler.  However, the difference was over 15 degrees.  While we tried to keep the upstairs comfortable at 75 degrees, it was a chilly 60 degrees in the basement, where some living areas are.  Imagine wrapping up in blankets and sweaters when it's in the 90s outside!

We arranged for the energy audit, which showed leaks around lighting fixtures, doorways, windows, outlets, and the attic access.  After seeing the results, it was suggested, among other things, to add extra insulation to the attic.  The insulation already there was 44 years old.  Needless to say, it has seen better days.

So we scheduled for the company to come out.  However, it wasn't as simple as it would seem.  Our house, being a raised ranch, has no storage to speak of.  There is a small walk-in closet in the back that leads to an even smaller room where the hot water heater is housed.  All of our holiday boxes are stored in our attic with many other boxes of random items.  We had to empty out everything!

So on a nice hot day in August, we pulled down all the Christmas boxes (about 40), the Halloween boxes, the Easter boxes, 15 boxes of my daughter's stuff she packed up from her bedroom, and some random boxes of our own.  We couldn't pile them in the house, because the energy people had to get to all the windows and outlets.  So some went into the family room downstairs, and the rest went into the garage.  Yes, my car is parked on the driveway right now. 

Our plan was to put the boxes back when they were done.  However, the installers had other plans.  The new insulation is much thicker and increased by 12 inches over the supports.  The plywood floors, therefore, are twelve inches higher than they used to be. Now consider the slope of the roof.  Make your floor 12 inches higher, and you lose all the space around the edges, and have limited space in the middle.  We could never stand in our attic, but now we can't even stoop.  We have to crawl. 

That said, what do we do with everything?  We're not sure yet.    Right now, we are going through some of the old cardboard boxes, getting rid of what we can, then packing everything into new plastic totes with locking lids.  We bought clear totes so even though we will label them, we can still see the contents. 

We threw away empty boxes from an old computer and monitor, bags of shredding we were going to use for packing (but we never sold the house), boxes of packing paper and bubble wrap that had silverfish living in them, and some tattered decorations.  My daughter started going through her boxes, and out of the six she has gone through, she has four full ones full of donations. 

We are making progress, however slowly.  (Add a new puppy and skunks to the list, and life has been hectic.)  Our goal is to find a home for everything before it gets cold.  I have to get my car back in the garage for the winter.  At least we are down to five boxes left from the living room project my husband started with his new television.  I will keep you posted!