Attic Ladder

Attic Ladder – Reduce Your Energy Bill

Background

When we moved into our house in 1969 we had to put a ladder in the upstairs hallway, climb up and open the access hatch.  This isn’t just an old house problem, many recently build house don’t have attic stairs either.  Seven years later after my Father died my Grand Father on my Mom’s side put in a retractable attic ladder.  I think it was old when he installed it and it never closed correctly and got worse with age.  We would stuff plastic trash bags in the gap in the winter to keep from loose as much warm air.  After I inherited the house I looked at it and said “this is ridicules” and went and bought a new attic ladder and with help from my brother-in-law installed it.

Whether or not you currently have a ladder you may want to consider a new one to reduce airflow and make access to the attic easier.   Making your house more energy efficient is a matter of managing heat flow.  There are three factors of heat flow conduction, convection/air flow, and radiate.  Picking a good ladder will get you conduction and convection/air flow efficacy increases.   You can also get Attic Ladder Insulators for additional insulation that helps with all three types of heat transmission.

Attic Ladder options

There are several brands of attic ladder: Werner Ladder, Louisville Ladder,  Fakro and maybe some others.  I went with a Werner attic ladder. There were two models I looked at:

Werner Attic Ladder AH2210
Werner 8ft. – 10 ft., 22.5 in. x 54 in. Aluminum Attic Ladder Universal Fit with 375 lb. Maximum Load Capacity, AH2210B
Werner Attic Ladder AE2210
Werner 8ft. – 10 ft., 22.5 in. x 54 in. Energy Seal Aluminum Attic Ladder Universal Fit with 375 lb. Maximum Load Capacity, AE2210.

The basic construction is about the same but the Energy Seal adds a seal gasket and 1 inch of insulation on the hatch board.  The claim is up to 60% reduction in air leakage and 5 times the energy savings of a standard ladder.   Since I was trying to reduce as much air flow as possible I went with the Energy Seal version.  I would recommend the Energy Seal model inside the house.  For a garage it may not be as important so which ever is cheaper at the time of purchase.

Installing

If the access hole to the attic is about the size or a little larger than the ladder frame then you can go ahead and install it without any modification to the hole framing.  In my case the previous ladder was significantly larger so we took some 2×6 and framed the hole then install the ladder.

Basic step: (there are detailed instruction in the package)

  1. Unpack the attic ladder.  The Werner comes with all the parts you need except for shims.  However the anchor bolt are a little cheap so you may want to get some of your own or Deck screws.
  2. You will want two 20 inch 1×4 to put at both ends of the hole then lift the ladder through and set it down on the boards.
  3. You are then going to let the ladder down, put in shims at the anchor location and then attach the ladder frame to the access hole frame with the anchor bolts or Deck screws or a combination there of.  My house being old has hard wood and the bolt shard off so we use Deck screws.
  4. You now calculated the length and if needed cut the stairs at the bottom then attach the feed.  They have directions on how to do this.
  5. Finally attach the pull down string.

Then enjoy the stairs.  The thing I really love about the Werner Attic Ladder is the struts which make opening and closing it easier and quitter than the previous ladder that used springs.

Here is a video I made of me and my Brother-in-law installing a Werner Energy Seal Attic Ladder. (Replace Old Attic Ladder)

Where to purchase

So where can you get the Werner Energy Seal Attic Ladder and what do you need to install it?     Go to the What You Need page for a full list of where and what to buy.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

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