As you can see there is currently nothing keeping the cold attic air from seeping into the house other than the vent in the ceiling (which is certainly not a tight seal). So to insulate it, Phil simply built a box out of insulated foam board and popped it on.
Ok so it wasn't that easy. Here were the materials we were working with:
One piece of insulated foam board, heavy duty duct tape and an exacto knife. Total cost was probably no more than $15.
Phil did a lot of internet searching to figure out the best approach and then ended up winging it. It would have been a simple task if it weren't for the roof beams that cut so close to the attic fan that there wasn't room to just pop a box over the fan. So Phil had to be a little more thoughtful with the shape of his box and how to make it fit in there. After some trial and error, he figured it out.
As you can see Phil had to cut some of the sides at different widths in order to make it just right. But he basically just measured, measured, measured. Cut the pieces of foam board to the right sizes, and then duct taped the seams together.
Voila! It fits! Phil's version of this blog post would probably be much more filled with frustrated expletives. I think it involved more trial and error than I may have even realized. But in the end he did a dang good job. And a couple winter months later, I can tell you it has definitely made a difference. Prior to insulating the fan, the upstairs part of our house was pretty frigid - to the point we had to crank up the heat when we went to bed (the attic fan is located in the upstairs hallway directly outside our bedroom door. Nowadays, we actually have to turn the heat way down when we go to bed to keep from overheating. I'm gonna go ahead and chalk at least part of that up to our newly insulated ceiling hole.
Oops Count: I'm gonna call this one a zero oops project. Phil had some trial and error with putting the box together but all in all once he put it together it was a done deal and fit perfectly the first time. Again, he might have a different oops count (I wasn't around for most of the process, I just got to witness the successful ending), but from my end this was a rare occurrence in our household of a project being pretty successful the first go around. Go us! (er, go Phil, I guess).
Lesson(s) Learned: There are certainly some home improvement DIY projects out there that are extremely cheap and totally do-able. This one took a bit of research and trial and error but who knows how much it could have cost us to out-source this project. Now let's just hope we remember to remove the box before turning the fan back on in the summer. Foam board confetti party anyone?!