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Community and Q&A

Is it worth creating a conditioned attic for my house?

CGFears | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I live in North Alabama, zone 3a I believe. I have a 25 year old, 1375 sq. ft. house on a slab with duct work in the attic. I have already paid a home performance contractor to seal the ceilings and top walls, add blown in insulation, and replace and seal ductwork. They also performed the door air blower test for air exchange rate. I have a bedroom that is always hotter or colder than the rest of the house.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    First of all, can you tell us your name?

    Q. "Is it worth creating a conditioned attic for my house?"

    A. The answer depends on your goals and your budget. Creating a conditioned attic is expensive, so you are unlikely to see enough energy savings to pay for the work in a reasonable amount of time. But if it solves your comfort problem, and you can afford the work, you might decide to do it.

    First, though, I would try to figure out why your bedroom is uncomfortable. Here are some questions to ask:

    1. Is the ductwork to the bedroom undersized? To answer that question, it's helpful to perform a room-by-room cooling load calculation.

    2. Is there an adequate path for return air to get from the bedroom back to your air handler? The bedroom might need a jump duct or a return-air duct.

    3. Is there enough duct insulation on the duct serving your bedroom?

    4. Is the R-value of the ceiling insulation above the bedroom ceiling adequate?

    5. Does the bedroom have large windows (especially west-facing windows) that would benefit from exterior shading to reduce solar gain?

  2. CGFears | | #2

    Thank Martin. My name is Chris G Fears. I paid for a reputable HVAC/home performance contractor to fix this room by doing an energy audit. Sealing all ceiling penetrations, adding more insulation in the whole attic, and sizing, replacing, mastic sealing the new ductwork. I did not check their work in the attic after completion, but the house is more comfortable overall since. The return is in the hall just outside that door. There is an air gap at the bottom of the door. It is the south east corner of the house, two exterior walls, with a larger window on the east wall without any shade. So that window could use a tree for shade.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    You should call up the contractor that performed the work, explaining your comfort problem. I'm guessing that the company didn't do an adequate job of assessing the size of the duct serving the uncomfortable bedroom.

    Shown below is a type of shutter used to limit solar gain in hot, sunny climates. This type of shutter still allows filtered light to enter the room.


  4. CGFears | | #4

    Thanks for the help.

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