High Temperature Attics

More difficult than working under a mobile home, in muddy and wet conditions, in the cold, on rocky ground, is working in a hot attic.  I have never taken the temperature of an attic I was working in, but I know they are always several degrees hotter than the outside ambient air temperature, and in the summer that means Extremely Hot.  The sun bakes down on the roof, there is no air movement, and (usually) no insulation under the roof.

On top of that (literally), attic insulation is blown in.  Some are blown in insulation is very bad.  And all of the various kinds of insulation stick to you when you are working in an attic.

One job I had to do in an attic, in warm weather, involved a building where the access hole to the attic was about 60 feet (as the electrician crawls) from the panel.  The access (or “scuttle”) hole was located in a new addition that I was wiring.  The panel was located in the original building structure.  To get to the area above the panel I had to crawl about 15 feet through the addition attic, then take a 90 degree left turn and go another (approximately) 30 feet through the gable structure of the original building, and finally take a 90 degree right turn for another 15 feet to get over the panel.

Both attics (old and new) had blown in insulation all the way, and blown in insulation packs when you put weight on it.  Packed blown in insulation loses insulating value.

I crawled into the scuttle hole with a hammer, staples, the end of a long run of NMB 10/3 wire, one end of an extension cord, an electric drill (battery powered drills were still in the future) with a wood bit, a light, and a wooden paddle.  I believe I added 50% to my body weight.  I crawled through the attic moving insulation out of my way as I went.  My helper (this time it was my wife Becky) fed the cord and cable through the scuttle hole to me.

When I got to the place above the panel I hung the light near me, cleaned the insulation off the top plate of the wall, and drilled a hole through the plate.  I dropped a fish chain through the hole.  It was attached to the 10/3 NMB and the NMB had a cable connector on it.  Becky caught the fish chain and pulled it and the cable connector into the panel.

As I backed my way out of the attics, I stapled the 10/3 to the exposed trusses and covered it up with the insulation, using the paddle to make a proper “blown in” effect.  By the time I exited the scuttle hole with my tools, light, drill, extension cord, etc., I was covered with sweat, insulation, and dust.

I drove home, took a shower, changed into clean clothes and then went back to the job.

Attics are inconvenient, uncomfortable, difficult, … and HOT!

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