Keep the trapdoor of attic closed

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Q. The attic of my house, kept closed by a small trapdoor, collects a lot of summer heat. If I replace the solid trapdoor with a screened trapdoor to let the attic air escape, would my house be appreciably cooler? Carl Wright Edinburg, Texas

A. Leave the trapdoor to the attic as it is -- solid! A screened access would only allow the hot air to enter your living quarters all the more.

To relieve the attic of its hot air, install attic louvers, if it does not already have them, as to provide cross ventilation. Attic exhaust fans are also used to increase ventilation -- fans that expel hot air and bring in a fresh-air replacement.

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Do you have ceiling insulation in the attic? If not, by all means have thermal insulation installed either in blanket form or blown in.

Other measures which can be taken to make a dwelling more air tight are weatherstripping at all outside doors and windows, caulking cracks and joints, double-glazed windows, and thermal insulation in the walls and under the floor.

Clearly, this is neither the day nor the hour to let the outside weather in -- whether it's summer or winter.

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