Attic safety is a concern at any time of year, but particularly in summer. While many homeowners avoid visiting the attic as much as possible, it’s sometimes necessary to inspect the structure, check for roof leaks or retrieve items stored there. Unfinished attics are not constructed to the same safety standards we take for granted in living spaces below. Persons entering the attic must recognize hazards and take necessary steps to guard against injury. Here are some specific attic safety issues to be aware of, especially during hot summer weather.
Professional home inspectors report that temperatures of 160 degrees are not uncommon in residential attics in the sun belt on a summer afternoon. In other locales, attic readings exceeding 125 degrees are considered typical. Temperatures in this range can induce heat exhaustion which, in turn, may cause heat stroke—a deadly condition. If you must visit your attic in summer, do so in the early morning hours close to (or before) sunrise. Drink lots of water and come down into the living spaces for frequent breaks.
Attic air may be contaminated with insulation fibers, pathogens from rodent droppings or toxic mold spores. For eye and breathing protection, wear goggles plus a disposable face mask rated N-95 to filter out particulates down to the size of 0.3 microns.
Stay on the attic walkway that extends down the center and/or step only on visible main attic joists. Never step out on beds of insulation. These areas are supported only by the ceiling below which may easily give way and collapse under your weight.
Attic construction may include exposed nails, screws and sharp, splintering wood. Thick gloves should be standard protection. Also, wear a hat and keep your head low to avoid nails protruding through the roof.
Be aware of electrical wiring routed through the attic as well as junction boxes that may include bare wire connections. Avoid contact with all electrical components.
Ask the experienced professionals at Hartman Brothers for more information about attic safety measures during hot summer weather.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.