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Insulate Attic/Roof without any access or working room

Spending our first Winter in our home we purchased in the Spring. Our second floor is pretty cool and when the last owner undertook renovations on the main floor and removed walls, air ducts that ran to second floor rooms were cut completely and end on the main floor. At this point we have several cold air returns but only one working duct which pushes warm air to the second floor which has our master and two other bedrooms (currently unoccupied).

There is a 10 degree difference in temperature between the main and second floor. I have checked the small attic access panel which has about 4' of headroom and there are bats of pink insulation in the middle of the second floor where there is a dormer which spans from one side to the other of the house. But I have no real access to the roof over the dormers or at the front and back of the house where the roof is peaked, though I do see there is about 4-6" of loose fibreglass insulation.

With finished dry wall ceilings in the hallway and all three bedrooms, do I have any options to insulate? The roof was re-done a few years ago with several vents (none ridge), though we will re-do the soffit and fascia which wasn't done at that time.

What should I do? Insulate, extend the cut off heating ducts to the second floor again?

Now I know why the last owner had electric fireplaces in all of the bedrooms!

Thanks for any advice.

Re: Insulate Attic/Roof without any access or working room

You need to have a HVAC contractor determine if the existing second-floor duct is large enough to use alone, or if more or larger ducting will be needed. Whenever I encounter something that seems out-of-place like electric supplemental heating, I always suspect there's more to it than meets the eye and look for why it was done that way.

Also, you should have access to all parts of your attic save for vaulted or cathedral ceilings that were built tight against the roof. That access is now code-mandatory so that firemen can inspect all areas up there should they ever need to do that. Perhaps you can install more access points in existing closets, that's a common solution.


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