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How many attics do you have?

You may have more attics in your home than you think.

You may have more attics in your home than you think.

Every house has its mystery spaces. Tucked behind little hidden doors and often hard to access, these nooks, crannies, and mini rooms are easily ignored and sometimes completely unknown to homeowners.

This may be why we find that people are often surprised when our home comfort experts ask, “How many attics do you have?”

Many homeowners believe they have only one. But there are actually different types of attics (in addition to the big one upstairs we all know). And these other attics can play a huge role in your home’s comfort and efficiency.

Knowing how many attics you have is essential in understanding your home’s attic insulation needs—and proper attic insulation is a key factor in your house’s comfort, energy you use to heat and cool your home, reducing your energy waste, and lowering your carbon footprint.

How many attics do you have? Read on to learn about the other attics and why they matter.

Knee attic

What is it?

Also known as a side attic, these spaces are located at the point where your roofline meets the uppermost portions of your walls. They’re usually found connected to one or more of the bedrooms upstairs, and are especially common in Cape Cod style houses. If you have one in your house, you may use it as an extra storage space, or just ignore it altogether. 

Why does it matter?

Knee attics are most often uninsulated and lack proper air sealing. This can make your second floor super hot in summer and cause upstairs bedrooms to feel like ice boxes during winter because there isn’t a proper thermal boundary separating these semi-outdoor spaces from your living areas.

diagram that illustrates common attic locations
A Cape Cod style house has two knee attics alongside the second floor, and a devil’s peak on top

Devil’s peak attic

What is it?

The small attic partially covering the ceiling of second floor of a house where all or most of the attic has been finished. This type of attic is also very common in a Cape Cod style house.

Why does it matter?

A devil’s peak attic is often inaccessible to the homeowner, so it is rarely properly air sealed and insulated. This means that there is little to no thermal boundary between the second floor rooms’ ceiling and the roof. As a result, these rooms are too hot in the summer and heat escapes in the winter.

Flat roof

What is it?

The anti-attic. A flat roof is a top-floor ceiling with just a small, rectangular cavity above it and below the roof.

Why does it matter?

Without air sealing and insulation, a flat roof can be a major source of heat loss in winter. In summer, with the sun beating down on the roof, heat radiates into the rooms below. A flat roof can be tricky to repair. To insulate a flat roof often requires demolition, so we often recommend leaving it alone unless absolutely necessary.

4 Common Problems Caused by Under-Insulated Attics

While you might not think about how many attics you have in your home too often—or ever—the truth is that under-insulated and unsealed attics can cause significant issues in your house.

Here are the four most common issues caused by attics that don’t have enough insulation or haven’t been professionally air sealed:

#1: Ice dams on your roof

If you live in an area that gets at least one significant snowfall per year, you’ve probably seen an ice dam before. Ice dams can cause lasting damage to your roof, moisture intrusion into your attic and interior walls, and can even pull the gutters straight off your house. But there are a few ice dam solutions that can permanently fix the problem—including upgraded attic insulation.

#2: A cold, drafty house

Just because you live in an older home doesn’t mean it should be cold and drafty. Under-insulated and unsealed attics can cause a drafty house, but professional air sealing and insulation are the final fix you need to feel comfortable all year long.

#3: Uneven temperatures throughout your home

Is your upstairs floor too hot in the summer? And your downstairs floor too cold in the winter? Do you have just one room that never seems to get to a comfortable temperature, no matter what time of year it is? Under-insulated attics are often to blame, because they’re a key component to creating a thermal boundary for your home as well as proper ventilation throughout your house. But you can fix a cold house—it’s true! And attic insulation can help.

#4: High heating bills and big energy costs year round

Poorly insulated attics that haven’t been properly air sealed are a big contributor to big heating bills and high energy waste in homes. In fact, the EPA estimates you can reduce your average utility bills by 11%—and your heating and cooling costs by 15%—by upgrading your insulation (including attic insulation) and air sealing your home (1). That makes a big difference in reducing your home’s energy waste and your increasing comfort.

Tame your attics for good—the ones you know about and the ones you don’t

You may not go into your attics much, but if they don’t have enough insulation, you can feel their impact every day throughout your home.

Want to learn more about how to rehabilitate these often overlooked spaces with air sealing and insulation? Talk to us at 888-985-7481.

Sealed can help you get insulation and air sealing for all your attics (even the hidden ones) at no upfront cost. And if you don’t save energy, we don’t get paid.

Take the short quiz today to see if your home qualifies!

February 3, 2020