Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Energy Cost Tracking Through Decades of Actual-Cost Data, Charted in Microsoft Excel, Two Example Homes

This post is a further challenge of home energy-efficiency rating as a home owner asset for real estate purposes.  Why shouldn't we just rely on actual operating costs as measure of home energy efficiency?  (Google that, and the question is not recognized. Far down the results, a UK EPC, Energy Performance Certificate  is discussed; and no, it is not on-topic.) 

For any home, there is no better measure of energy efficiency than actual utility-cost data. That data will have complexity. Whatever, it will be more real and inspiring than transitory numbers of some rating scorecard. Every improvement or degradation nullifies a score; cost data is perpetual.

Where cost-tracking is continuous, it becomes useful for verifying effects of a continuous process of home improvement and varied usage. Is a new appliance working correctly and as-claimed? What costs are seasonal, or dependent on the number of house occupants? A home energy score is if anything, a drag upon making changes.

Here is a display of monthly data of natural gas usage in my now-a-rental home, for the past eighteen years:

Annual totals for July through June heating seasons are more informative. 

See that through 2012 with the house unimproved and kept chilly in Winter, I tolerated annual cost of about $460. Improvements from 2012 to 2016 reduced the natural gas cost by half, still with Winter thermostat setting of 55°F. From 2019, the house has been a rental with an average of two occupants and comfortable thermostat setting, with return to annual cost of about $460. See that extreme economy is met with increased importance of base charges, and bills are reduced less than expected. Results with careful weatherization are unambiguous, when accomplished scattered over time. A very big further improvement is still needed: replacement of the like-new high-efficiency gas furnace with a heat pump unit. As with everything else I have done, this will happen with study, with work done and documented by-myself except the final commissioning. I hope to find a good  Heat Pump Coach , as advocated in today's email feed of Onward Oregon . I hope I will be favored with early access in this, for my role as a reporter. I aim to be a good reporter in the similar matter of Heat Pump Water Heater evolution, where I have coped with an early-technology failure. I learn by doing my own work, but must not fail to benefit from a depth of experience.

Now look at to-date electricity usage:

Large consequence of a  heat pump water heater failure is evident in  tracking of electricity consumption in my now-rental home. Large electricity savings with  a 40 gallon Rheem Professional Prestige ProTerra Hybrid Electric Water Heater PROPH65 T2 RH375-SO, were wonderful, for one year. I have detailed the factory-offered repair in replacement of the control board, which did no lasting good.   Electricity usage rose to a brief historic high at year-end 2022. At last the 40 gallon Rheem HPWH was scrapped 

Such an undignified end for my "exceptional" first-try HPWH. Nothing in the nearly-new unit was of interest for salvage. Rheem provided a replacement at no cost except that of increasing size from 40 gallons, to 50 gallons. Perhaps renters used exceptional amounts of hot water, that forced generation with resistance heaters. A bump-up in size might not help, but give it a try.

House in transition, it will take several months to know that weird electricity consumption is at an end, with this brand-new 50 gallon Rheem heat pump water heater.

PRO H50 T2 RH310UM
SN 0322208450

Wall Pads; that's what I'll call the four wood assemblies that, with ropes, secure the position of the tank in the event of an earthquake. The 40 gallon tank was 20.25" OD. This is 22.25" OD. To accommodate the change, I reshaped the painted-white 2x4s, and moved each pad assembly an inch away from the walls corner. I am serious in belittling the steel straps sold for this. What, really, do they anchor to? The 3/4" plywood at the wall is anchored to the wall studs by 3" deck screws. How could steel strap-ends conveniently align with wall studs? Earthquake loads are lateral, for sure splitting the  studs at bending lag screws. Here with diagonal 1x8 shiplap behind 5/8" drywall and very many pad screws, this tank is anchored.

Isn't this an exceptional installation?

See that with vent and drain plumbing behind the wall, in the now-conditioned crawl space, it was easy to create a new P-trapped drain for HVAC. The little Tygon tube for high-efficiency gas furnace condensate, no longer dangles across steps to a utility sink. The convenient dedicated drain will accommodate more drainage from heat pump HVAC.

With the new 50 gallon HPWH, in time, I expect to see lasting return to annual electricity cost of about $500 per year. Judging that electricity consumption is not seasonal, prefer annual totals for calendar years. 

Conclude that with two-person occupancy as a rental, my well-documented energy-efficient home has annual natural gas cost of about $470 per year. The total electricity cost is also  about $470 per year. Elimination of natural gas service would reduce natural gas cost by about $200 per year, and increase electricity cost by about $100 per year. The home draws about 4000 KWH per year, ahead of a conversion to heat pump HVAC.

Can I know how my house measures up to standards? A resource of interest to me in learning tried better methods of house construction - - is Portland, Oregon 501 (c)(3), Earth Advantage . I look to them now.

Compare energy efficiency of my well-improved 1000 sf house, to that of a 832 sf super-well-built single-story ADU built in Portland in 2020. Consult this training video , at time 9:31:

$45 per month energy cost, per-year, scaled to 1000 sf: $649 per year. Presume that the EPS-label energy cost is the sum of electricity and natural gas costs.  For my house that sum is a bit less than $1000.

I hope that Earth Advantage collects and studies actual-cost data, now two years of it here. A score that has physical meaning, is interesting.

My house has room for doable improvement, probably by less than $200 per year. Compared to neighboring homes, mine surely is very efficient.

Actual Decades-Long Cost Data for Another Home, Where I Improved the Attics

A two-story Ranch home in Sandy, Oregon:
Now begin charting for another home with extensive energy usage data, that of my older sister, whose house has also been improved by my weatherization.  I look for proof that my work produced savings, and seek to learn more about what constitutes good record-keeping, and charting in MIcrosoft 

This is a two-story home well-built in 1973, 2052 sf conditioned space. Heating is also natural gas, with no air conditioning. Expect natural gas cost to be more than double that of my 1000 sf single-story home, with nearly-same electricity cost.

This home and its natural gas usage history were described in a previous post, October 23, 2012, Making Sense of Gas Usage History . There see detail of very-substantial attic floor sealing and added insulation.

An additional decade of data is interesting. Was the Winter of 2020 exceptionally cold; or staying warmer and healthy in the epidemic? This home used more than twice as much natural gas than mine, from the same supplier, Northwest Natural, and at reduced dollars per therm. There were years before the weatherization where fewer therms were used. Were they exceptionally mild? What happened in 1997? Whatever the complexities, I think the charting is a rewarding exercise. We're doing good things. What will we see if now there is conversion to heat pump HVAC? History matters.

See annual natural gas usage of about 1200 therms, $1000, as expected.

See electricity usage well-tamed by LED lighting and technology improvement in appliances and connectedness to information, costs steadily declining, while approaching a doubling of electricity rates.

The annual electricity cost is nearly double that of my 1000 sf single-story home. That's a bit surprising.

See consistent Excel charting with some different trial of logic for colors.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Flexible Grout For Sale

 For me, attic floor sealing opportunities occur randomly. Here I am working at the edge of an attic ladder now fully installed. Before I can place flooring, I must fully fill floor joists with insulation. Before that I must fill the large gaps at hallway wall headers. The flexible grout I prepare in my kitchen from powders and acrylic liquid, is reserved for use in drywall patching of the hallway ceiling.

Use instead Custom Fusion Pro Tile grout  readily available in any big box store. Choose color White. My grout and Custom grout are chemically very similar. They work as a putty the consistency of creamy peanut butter. Applied with a bit of pressure to a water-wetted gap, expect full-depth filling and stable bridging that hardens quickly, permitting recovery of excess with a trowel, and wetted-sponge cleanup if wanted. My grout is sandable, almost as easily as ordinary drywall compound, or formable to any desired texture pattern. Learn more at a blog promoting this; .

Fingers are readily washed for no-harm handling of my iPhone. Tools include a 3" flexible-blade trowel and a spray bottle for wetting of gaps.

Use of can foam for gap filling here, is absurd. Foam skins instantly without penetration and wet contact, rarely with full sealing. Expensive applicator guns are useless for intermittent application, so hard to clean up, involving dangerous chemicals, quickly ruined.

Kraft facing on batts is absurd. Here it hid the wall header gaps with no sealing effect. 

Some gaps are really large; this abused as a wiring passage. With the trowel, push in some rips of the wispy fiberglass, for one-step grout filling.

This is the so-often crumpled downward face of kraft-faced insulation. Never intimate. Often allowing energy-driven air circulation, defying insulation value. I peel off and dispose this trash. Kraft facing defies careful, tight placement of insulation, and should be abolished. It is ineffective as an air seal and usually detracts from insulation value.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Fresh Air is Almost Free

The previous post shares a surprising finding that conditioned air circulated in USA  ordinary clothes drying is replaced at very modest cost, say $16 per year.  Healthy provision of fresh air in our homes at required 0.35 ACHnat, 7 ACH50, is at very small cost. That cost, about $100 per year for a well-built 1000 sf home, is unavoidable. If a home is more-expensively built to Passive House standards, less than 0.6 ACH50 , fresh air must be drawn in by other means, to a total of at least 7 ACH50. Those means can be absurd, perhaps with net increase of operating costs. Powered means may be unreliable with expense in operation and repair/ replacements. Occasional reporting of false economy in air tightness, in this blog , is not kindly regarded by readers.

The physics fact in this is that air has extremely small heat capacity, rising or falling in temperature without much gain or loss of thermal energy. In-home air-to-air regenerative heat exchangers save little energy vs. operating costs including maintenance. The value in regenerative heat exchange is related to the heat capacity of the moved fluid, mattering a lot for high delta-T liquid systems, and little for small delta-T gases.

I was not heard, when I spoke out to the full assembly of March 2016 hearings of proposed 2018 revision of the International Energy Conservation Code, Louisville, KY. I was dismayed by the many proposals sought to surrender the enforcement of construction quality, to  numbers in blower door tests. I call that Blower Door Madness.

In a few words I stated an Insulation Math finding that for  my Portland, Oregon 1000 sq ft single-story home with 8 foot ceilings, 4400 heating degree days, natural gas heat at $2 per therm, each ACH50 of fresh air brings a conditioning cost of only $10 per year. Tightening a home is almost irrelevant to the total of typical HVAC costs. The attention should instead be upon perfection of a complete home insulation envelope with thoughtfully-placed windows.

Where it is accepted that a healthy home should have minimum 0.35 ACHnat,  times-twenty, 7 ACH50, air exchange in my home is at natural gas cost of a modest $70 per year. Home HVAC cost is very little related to provision of healthy fresh air. Don't we all know that pulling makeup air through gaps of ordinary good construction 24/7, is better than pulling outside air at a pipe to the HVAC return, only when the air handler is running? Those odd pipes in so many new homes, are not part of any regenerative heat exchange or of thoughtful filtration of the the outside air.

Where annual usage of natural gas might be at cost of $400 per year, the healthy fresh air cost $50 at estimated 5 ACH50 tightness, is about 12% of that total, and is unavoidable.  There is a gas clothes dryer perhaps accounting for 15% and reducible by about $50 per year by the investment in HPCD.  It will make sense for sure, when all natural gas service is terminated, with heat pump HVAC. Heat pump HVAC is interesting now, from need for summertime cooling not now provided.

I have no further possible savings in adding of insulation. Recent gas usage of about $470 per year are probably with comfortable temperature setting near 70°F. Where I lived alone in the house under its reconstruction, thermostat at 55°F, I demonstrated the potential of about 50% savings in a bearable life of dressing very warmly to be comfortable.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Costs of Running A Miele Heat Pump Clothes Dryer

Matt Risinger shares this comprehensive review of Miele Laundry Machines - W1/T1 Washer & Dryer

The heat pump (ductless) clothes dryer, HPCD,  is the greater Miele novelty, and the subject of some math on operating costs, in comparison to ordinary clothes dryers.  

Search:  miele t1 dryer energy consumption

Find this Energy Star table with Estimated Annual Energy Use of 133 kWh/yr, a number also  shared by Matt Risinger. A button at this number in the table declares:

The estimated annual energy use is based on the Combined Energy Factor and an annual usage of 283 cycles per year, as referenced by the U S. Department of Energy test procedure. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10, Section 430, Subpart B, Appendix D2. Actual energy consumption will vary on your usage patterns, including how often your run the dryer, what cycle you select, and load size.

Matt's math is for his city, Austin Texas, where the incremental cost of electricity is 11.4 cents per KWh, 133 KWh then costing $15 per year. Matt finds that an ordinary electric clothes dryer for the  same demand would draw 608 KWh, costing $69 per year, higher by times-4.6.

Matt then is aware of further cost in the heating or cooling of outside air to compensate for air expelled outside by the drying operations, further disadvantaging the ordinary clothes dryers. . But, he despairs of doing the math for this. I will now do that math, with assumptions that Matt has offered;

In each dryer cycle the discharge rate is 200 cfm, and cycle time is 45 minutes. 9000 cubic feet of conditioned air pushed outside, is .replaced by the same volume of ambient air. Let this be for Austin TX. Calculate the year-average  temperature difference in conditioning this air as: 

(Sum of Austin TX annual Heating Degree Days and Cooling Degree Days), divided by 365.

Find HDD and CDD, at web site, for Year 2022, choosing the daily weather station data for Camp Mabry. For HDD choose reference temperature 65°F. For CDD, choose reference temperature 75°F. Results are 2047 HDD65 and 1817 CDD75, total 3864 degree days. The year-average  HVAC temperature moderation is 3864/365 = 10.6°F.  A number near 11°F will apply for most of us in USA, with our different mixes of HDD and CDD.

The heat capacity of air is taken as 0.018 BTU per cubic ft, per °F.

0.018 BTU per cubic ft per °F * 283 cycles * 9000 cubic ft per cycle * 10.6 °F= 486,000 BTU

Times KWH / 3412 BTU, for result 142 KWH.

Times 0.114 for result $16 per year. As Matt Risinger expected, the cost of conditioning makeup air with an ordinary clothes dryer is significant, adding to the savings in comparison to a heat pump clothes dryer. It is not a larger number.  Fresh air is nearly free, due to its extremely small heat capacity, while energy remains cheap in USA . Dumping conditioned air in an ordinary clothes dryer, is not considered already in Energy Star label comparisons. Comparisons consider only the electricity consumed by an appliance. A $69 number for an ordinary electric clothes dryer should more-fairly, be increased to $85 per year. The difference is small enough that it hasn't been noticed. 

The true total cost of HPCD clothes drying is wonderfully small. Savings from the investment are $85 - 15 = $70 per year.

Eleven-Year Payback for an HPCD Investment

Look at the $70 per year savings with Perpetuity Math , for a service life of twenty years, with 3.2% annual inflation, 10% per year growth in the cost of electricity. Assume a $1000 cost of purchase and installation, after rebates.

The simple payback period is Purchase Cost/ Annual Savings Now = $1000 / $70 per year = 14 years. Out 11 years, the $70/year savings have present value of 70 times $14 = $1000. Out twenty years, the $70/year savings have present value of 70 times $40 =  $2800. Savings beyond an eleven year return matter in the purchase decision.

So, what service life should you expect from this clothes dryer? Search Miele T1 dryer expected service life .  Find a comprehensive blog post by online seller Designer Appliances . From blog commenters, learn that you will want Professional appliances built in Germany.  From phone conversation with Miele via 888-996-4353, learn that the HPCD model I want is the quite ordinary TXD160WP. At March 2023, I can buy this for $1599, discounted 30%  for net cost $1119. I think I should expect twenty years and more of service. I should do this. 

Do want an extended service warranty. Seeing that a credit card used in the purchase might double the warranty period, expect a long warranty to not cost much. 

By the same Perpetuity Math, see that someone affording a $80,000 EV to save $2000 per year now, and on over twenty year service life, has produced present value of 40 * $2000 = $80,000. The car is for-free. Spare money has huge value when it purchases energy conservation. Again, temper enthusiasm with questions about durability.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Doors: Some (or Much) Assembly Required

 Fifteen years into my service as business Attic Access, in metro Portland, Oregon, I find myself in a binge of calls for broken attic ladders made in Southeast USA, where fixing is the best response.

This now-repaired attic ladder, lightly used and perhaps thirty years old, was found dysfunctional at both limit arms, as I call them. The upper pivots were very loose, with springs and arms jammed akimbo; cleverness demanded to deploy or stow. It is now better-than-new and should live on another thirty years and more. With sturdy limit arms, longevity may come of care to not let step section hinges come apart with lost nuts and bolts.

Here is one of the flimsy mild-steel upper pivot cups from a much newer Werner WH3008 ladder that I demolished for recycling of the metal. The factory-installed limit arms were ruined when big rivets serving  as the upper pivots, ripped out. Functional replacement arms could not be found. The ladder would not have failed if the pivots had been strong lag screws binding to the ladder rough frame. The manufacturer sought simplest construction (the dumb rivets protruding here), installation-ready out of the shipping packaging. The installer overlooked the need to set long lag screws into the two holes not riveted to the ladder frame. The ladder frame then would measurably flex from heavy loads every time the ladder was operated, contributing to the pivot-rivet failure. 

Competent installers of ordinary doors have learned that lesser loads, even just the weight of a door, can not be supported by the door frame. Door loads are transmitted through the hinges, wanting to twist the frame. At every hinge, an appropriate screw to the flimsy 1x ladder frame, must be replaced with a screw binding to the much stronger, heavily nailed-in rough frame. 

The many-tricks in correct installation of an ordinary prefit door are well taught by trade show master presenter Gary Katz, The Katz Roadshow. I am a very uncommon resource, in offering useful techniques for the installation of an attic ladder, more tricky in its need to bear the very large loads of a person's weight and carried objects. Lesson One: Never rely on the ladder frame to bear the loads, despite claims of rated load-carrying. 

So, a ladder manufacturer will do well to include many installation steps that directly apply carried loads to the rough frame. Clearly describe them. Don't pretend that any uninstructed person with a saw, hammer and nails, can get the job done, with a rube helper, in a half hour. I fully disassemble a ladder for installation, safely and better, working alone. I sometimes extract the door from the frame. Arms and springs initially loose, are installed on the job. It takes a full day, and more, with needs of patching that often dictate the door removability.

With an attic ladder or any door, assembly is required.

In the ladder now to be repaired, study the failed upper pivots of the limit arms.

3/8" x 3 1/2" lag screws and large 3/8" washers replace a badly worn assortment of short machine bolts, a  bushing,  a couple of 3/8" nuts and a variety of washers loose and tilted at center of the cup mount.

Two 1/4" x 2 1/2" lag screws at each cup replace assorted wood and machine screws bound only to the 1x4 ladder frame, nuts falling the the floor when released.

All of this failed experimentation and years of frustration with the ladder would have been avoided if, from the beginning, at ladder installation, the springs, arms and cups had been packaged loosely, for assembly required of the installer, with lag screws as chosen now, binding to the rough frame. Choose drill sizes for the lag screws, that are not too large. Find the screw hole locations in the ladder frame clearly labeled.

At reset lower pivots of the limit arms, I made poor choices too, in reliance on fasteners from a nearby Home Depot. 3/8" x 1 1/2" coarse-thread hex bolts should have been 2" instead, permitting a washer  outside the arm and under a lock nut, at each side of the arm lower pivots. Home Depot is not a full-selection hardware store. They do not offer lock nuts for these coarse-thread bolts.  Find the lock nuts at an Ace Hardware.

I learn, and I share my learning.

A Typical Job, Completed January 2023

A Safety Pole and More: (Very much assembly is required of a competent and risk-averse installer.)

I install ladders with mandatory inclusion of every important safety measure I have imagined. A safety pole guides one from and to the ladder opening. When beyond reach of a ladder handle. always have your weight borne by a hand at a sequence of safety pole grips. A safety pole is a selected pretty 2x4 rock-solidly bridged between floor joists and roof joists with three or more hand grips, and with power and lighting control attached. Safety is priceless, and affordable. 

This is my job-in-process at late-December 2022, I keep divots of the plywood flooring cut about the ladder nearby, and set them to cover the hole while working distant from the ladder.

A lighted switch, readily visible and at-hand, greets the attic user.

The ladder is MidMade LEX 70 22/47, manufactured in Northern Sweden  sheltered workshops, by handicapped, talented workers, with superior, knotty, non-splitting Norway Spruce, from local forests.

The work of a competent installer can include much custom assembly specifically suited to the unique opportunities in any home.


My safety measures are original as far as I know, not offered by any other installer, and yet are  extremely important. One measure is deployment at default 60° steps angle. This is improvement from unsafe 70° for this MidMade ladder. Added hinging in the center section is needed to achieve the safer angle. Here watch YouTube video of the deployment at 60°, with a very similar ladder.

Perfectly ordinary. Nothing to it, once imagined, for me.

These are the conditions upon destruction of the found drywall-plunker access at the above ladder.

Planning comes of much experience and fresh tactical thinking. The accurately-fit "hole" will be in a strong, completely rebuilt floor.

Here I am standing on the ladder, looking at the finished attic.

In the attic, looking back at the ladder, at left see three more matched sets of plywood 24" rips intended for further flooring progress. At right see the divots of the flooring cut for the ladder. Further progress is daunting. Upright 2x4s outboard of the chimney defy easiest passage. More lighting is needed.  Long strips of the home's vinyl siding are obstacles, that may now move onto flooring.

 This is the attic ladder as received from USA seller Conservation Technology, in Baltimore, MD. Packaging and instructions indicate that the ladder is ready to use, when nailed into the miraculously-produced ceiling hole.

Stuff the unboxed ladder in the attic, and place it in the hole, with the door face resting on propped supports. Anchor the ladder frame with a few nails and remove the supports. Open the door. 

Just lop off excess of the lower step section, and you're done!


Working with ladders never seen before, I indulged in several months of measuring, drawing, studying, thinking and trials. My detailed planning employs precise 2D graphics drawn in Adobe FrameMaker at v5.5.6, which I have owned and have daily employed for about twenty years. Circa 2002 the dotcom crash crushed a maker of CRT displays, in Beaverton, Oregon, and I acquired this miraculous tool for about $100. Bloated newer versions are useless to me. FrameMaker 2019, better only in faster 64-bit operation, might be purchased for $1100. Adobe wants, even demands, that I upgrade to a subscription at $39.99 per month, current version 17. In a thirty day free trial I couldn't accomplish anything. The graphics tools are not valued at Adobe, and are ruined.

Here is the site planning graphic in FrameMaker The imported Google Maps satellite photo has overlay of precise details of floor framing and all of my construction. All drawing is with the two simple palettes caught in the Snagit scan. The tools in FrameMaker 17 are horribly complicated by pulldowns and such for the likes of choosing between dozens of arrow shapes. One is the right number. 

Here again are the v5.5.6 tool palettes with drawing of improved ladder deployment, all hardware drawn at scale and noting the pinning of object groups. The ladder is much-improved beyond imaginings of a few naive inventors briefly employed a decade ago and not reimagined since, until I came along. With mid-splitting of the center section of a three-section ladder, adding hinges as a four-section ladder, limit arms and pivot positions are adjusted for deployment at a precise 60°. My reimagining of the ladder if the factory would cooperate for future production, would include elimination of what I consider a dangerous, trick, top step. I demand a broad top step for user safety. Here a probing foot  reaching out backward for descent, often first finds the pointy tops of the side rails. The danger is avoidable and the solution all-around has design and seller inventory-control advantages. There is no factory engineering staff to cooperate in this. So, just let me do the work? It is already done.

The as-shipped (default) ladder deploys at a too-steep 70°.steps and door angle, and I consider that unsafe. The steepness is needed for the deploying steps to clear the ladder frame. This ladder is assembled with too-small screws as if with intent an installer would rearrange things, then setting appropriate screws. European rule EN 14975 states that steps angle should not be steeper than 61°. Do not defy this rule! .Be grateful for means of compliance I offer, with added hinging.

Please see many issues of imperfect assembly of the default ladder. With this, then grant that improvements are just that. Intelligence added for the end-user must only reduce manufacturer liability, not affecting the manufacturer warranties.  The upper step section is cleverly bonded to the door via wood crossbars that reach out to the strong wood of the door edges, awkwardly. The lower crossbar is high up on the door, for no good reason. I will apply common sense to move that crossbar and its brackets, also replacing screws that are needlessly short. I will apply long and strong deck screws to engage the rough frame at limit arm upper pivots, at the upper attachment for balancing springs, and at all arbitrary captures of the ladder frame to the rough frame. I stand behind the ladder and its assembly, for as long as I am still walking, with proper insurance. My best insurance is that customers should never have an accident, and that they are gratefully aware of safety measures that I invent and that they must not refuse. Least-steep angle, handle(s), safety pole(s), ladder placement to step toward with momentum to maximum attic headroom, and more. Few people think installation of a door is simple DIY. Fewer should think an attic ladder is DIY.

Added hinging is required for angles less steep than 67°. For 96" floor to ceiling distance, the four-section deployment does not require "tenting."

Placing the ladder opening over a door frame below was a new challenge. Facing the need to close the hole in a two day binge of effort, I found it necessary to tilt the door frame out of the way, with temporary removal of the door. Armed with chiseling tools at my next visit, I would then reset the frame with trial and error, perhaps moving the frame. I did that cheerfully, resetting the door easily, with much-improved fastening and alignment, in further practice of best methods, taught by Gary Katz.

See the simple beauty in frameless trim, with nearly-invisible gaps between ceiling drywall, and the pretty-white durable finish of the ladder door.

Needed door trim then, often of ugly and cheap material, poorly fit, only conceals energy-leaking large gaps.

I do much better, with the ladder nearly invisible. It is a big deal. Important invention!

All the planning and hard work result in an attic that is  accessible.

 Good things happen up here. 

It's not about storage space for most of us. Here an electrician, with my work nearly done, safely fixed a list of photographed, not yet covered DIY wiring crimes. 

HVAC linesets are safely buried and better insulated, under the flooring.

At and beyond a house-central large chimney, much is left dark and dangerous. 

Passageways for many mouse families are still a problem.

Elapsed time for the work; thirteen days.

102 hours of on-job labor.
$1625 materials, my cost.
Invoiced $3625, me then netting $20 per on-job hour, with yet no compensation for 876 miles and twelve hours of travel to this exotic location. 

My weatherization work and business practices are an ever-thoughtful experiment and have worked well enough that I have stayed at this for eighteen years. Soon age 79, I must wish to beneficially franchise the work globally, armed with useful owned URLs:, and more. I wish to team up with the competent USA importer of MidMade products, Conservation Technology, in Baltimore, MD, to avail architects and demanding home owners, of smart residence attic access and valuable improvement. We should agree that an attic is not a trash heap. It is an opportunity zone for easy gains of energy conservation and of providing security and data wiring, better ventilation, air conditioning and lighting of living spaces.

A $10,000 Attic Investment Makes Sense, Whether for Storage or Not

Many things we should preserve are tolerant of temperature swings. Yet, commercial storage of such is not less costly than conditioned storage. 

$150 per month, I think.
Cumulative Payments
Kept 1 year: $1800
Kept 5 years:$9000
Kept 10 years: $18,000

A $4000 investment in attic access here, or even $10,000 for the full attic, with a lift mechanism, is so much smarter.

For most of us, in single family homes, floored R38 or R49  attic access is a good investment just for maximum weatherization, with friendly opportunity to maintain wiring, lights, fans, plumbing and HVAC. Insulation prone to ruin by access is a very bad investment.

Home Advisor says of fragile blown loose-fill: "You’ll spend between $0.25 and $2 for every inch of thickness per square foot (one board foot) or $1 to $5 per square foot total." Four inches of loose-fill coverage of half of this example attic (1000 sq ft) would cost $1000 to $8,000.

My very superior work invoiced at $20 per hour is far too much, a bargain. My work creates accessibility. The almost-universal loose-fill alternative is a cruel barrier to accessibility and usefulness.