View Full Version : Attic temp during our heat wave

ren ramsey
08-10-2007, 05:38 PM
Here is what my IR read in the attic.It absolutely took my breath. I defaulted to the NC SOP that does not require us to enter an area that is dangerous. Of course I pointed out that the attic had poor ventilation, fan was not operating....yada..yada.. Let's hear you chime in on what ya'll do.

Richard Rushing
08-10-2007, 06:12 PM

You may think this is less than accurate.... but that's an average temperature in the attic around here.

We inspect'em all.


Nolan Kienitz
08-10-2007, 06:17 PM
Been in many in both Houston and Dallas ... reading ~ 160 on the IR thermometer.

Don't linger too long, but still inspect 'em.

Carry change of shirts in truck all the time.

Jack Feldmann
08-10-2007, 07:52 PM
140 degrees? Depending on the attic (stand up or crawl on hands and knees?), and how long the trip to the ends will be, I will probably limit my time up there.

I'm sorry, but 160 degrees is too hot for me to go very far into the attic. Heat can overtake you very quickly and if collapse halfway into the attic, you may die there.

Just my opinion

Jim Luttrall
08-10-2007, 09:27 PM
I always let someone know I am entering a hot attic. They are dangerous.
If no one is on site, I will call my wife or grown kid and tell them where I am and to call 911 if I don't talk to them within 10-15 minutes. The hotter and tighter the crawl, the shorter time I will spend. I sometimes have to go back after cooling off, but it is funny how much faster you tend to inspect when it gets that hot.

Scott Patterson
08-11-2007, 07:36 AM
I have a hard and fast rule about entering a hot (over 130f) attic. I simply do not do it. I will stay at the hatch or pull down and see what I can see. I then report that the attic was too hot to safely enter and fully inspect and that I viewed it from the entrance. It is simply not worth it. I know of two home inspectors who have passed out from the heat in an attic. One at the hatch and the other as he fell down the stairs. Both recovered. The one at the hatch was found by their client who got them down and called 911.

I look at a hot attic the same as a crawlspace with standing water or wet muck all over it. I ain't going to go in it or through it. I'm simply not paid enough to put my life in danger.

Most if not all of my clients have understood, and agree that I should not go in a hot attic. I think I have had a couple who have balked and fussed that it was part of my job, and I told them that I will simply stop the inspection now and they can find another inspector and they will not owe me a cent. They calmed down and everyone was happy, well I was happy.

Jerry Peck
08-11-2007, 08:14 AM
I never (seldom) measured the attic temperature.

Either it was *TOO HOT* for me to feel safe going in, or, I went in and did my thing. I used to average over an hour in the attics, many times around 2 hours.

I got a free sauna and lost weight! :D

But, I sweat a lot when it's hot anyway, and, when in an attic, rain was pouring from me, so that kept me cooler, I guess. ;)

Rick Hurst
08-11-2007, 09:21 AM
What I do when first arriving is pull any attic ladders down in the garage to start some ventilation of the attic, and then I'll start up the exhaust fans in the bathrooms.

You know the exhaust fans are usually always vented to the attic, so the cool air in the house gets pulled into the attic somewhat. It actually helps reduce the attic temperature a little.

If a home has a attic ladder say in a hallway location, I'll open it for a while before going up it.

A wet towel on the back of the neck right before going up helps too, and a bottle of water in the back pocket.

Yeah, your still going to sweat but I kind of like it. Getting those toxins out. ;)

Scott Patterson
08-11-2007, 10:27 AM
Yeah, your still going to sweat but I kind of like it. Getting those toxins out. ;)

What I can't understand is why some folks smell like a beer can after a good sweat in the attic! :D

imported_John Smith
08-11-2007, 10:39 AM
I utilize a "cool vest" when doing inspections in Houston during the hot summer months. The prices vary quite a bit, so you need to do a lot of searching to find one that will fit your needs and that you will actually use.

If you dont feel safe doing it, dont risk it. As Scott said, it aint worth risking your personal health over.

Jerry Peck, Im interested in your statement that you spent over 2 hours in attics quite a few times. I try to be as thorough as possible, but try to get in and out in a reasonable amount of time. My inspections usually run closer to 4 hours than 3 (with at least an hour or so of report writing). I usually feel rushed getting it done in 4 hours. That involves usually spending about 30 to 45 minutes in the attic. If I spent a couple of hours in an attic, Im probably going to be at the property about 5 hours.

Aaron Miller
08-11-2007, 11:02 AM

You may think this is less than accurate.... but that's an average temperature in the attic around here.

We inspect'em all.


Brand new 5500 s.f. house yesterday on Lake Lewisville; 6" of sprayed foam in the rafter cavities; door into the garage attic from the main house attic; no insulation and no ventilation in that attic; probe thermometer in my pocket read 162° at 3:30 p.m.; took seven photos; left garage attic at 3:31 p.m.


Jerry Peck
08-11-2007, 11:09 AM
If I spent a couple of hours in an attic, Im probably going to be at the property about 5 hours.

Yeah? :)

I averaged 2 days there, so 2 hours in the attic was nothing. :D

Eric Van De Ven
08-11-2007, 11:41 AM
I start my inspections on the outside. By the time I get to the inside, I am usually sweating profusely. I told one Agent " I start sweating in May and don't stop until November"!

I then do the inside of the house and cool down. It is really easy to convince everyone that the a/c isn't working right if you are still sweating two hours after you get in the house.

Then I finish up in the attic. Usually a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Sometimes more. I have spent 2 hours in an attic on a few occasions. Big attics with lots of areas to get to.

Then, after I come out of the attic, right into the Durango with the a/c on "hang meat"!

I carry a gallon of water with me and by the end of the inspection, in the summer months, it is usually gone. Hydration is the key. I have been in plenty of attics, my own for instance, which are well over 140 degrees. After I am done, I cool down and drink plenty of water. I am recovered in about 15 minutes. I think this is one of the reasons I only do one inspection a day!

Rick Hurst
08-11-2007, 02:10 PM

It always seems like the houses around the lakes as you mentioned are always much hotter anyway. Has to be that humidity, right.

And if the heat isn't enough, the spiders and the cobwebs around the exterior will get you quick.

North of Lake Lewisville is like another country compared to the N. Dallas area thats for sure.


Richard Rushing
08-14-2007, 11:07 PM

Glad to see that you are using the old wet towel around the neck thingy... I also wear a baseball had in the attic for a couple of reasons. The first is that it helps keeps the cob-webs out of my hair, it holds the head torch I wear and under the hat, I place a chilled (right out of the cooler of ice) wash rag on the inside of the hat, between my hair and the hat while also wearing a chilled rag around my neck on the inside of my shirt.

Going into one of those scorchers that Aaron described without the wet/chilled rags is asking for heat exhaustion, which I have a slight case of by the way. The symptoms are; very bad headaches, feeling of being lethargic and no energy and sleepy--but cant sleep. It's a real ass-whoppin.:mad:

Michael Thomas
08-15-2007, 06:47 AM
Re: Two hours in an attic

The one unhappy client I know of this year (did not contact me directly, found out from a contractor who gave them a quote to fix the rafters) resulted from a situation where I found a broken rafter, and noted in the report that when they were obtaining quotes to replace it, that the contractor should also inspect all rafters for additional similar defects (which can be hard to detect on 100+ year old aged darkened rafters without careful individual inspection).

Contractor found several more... unhappy client, who felt I should have found them all.

I was in this house for 4+ hours, then two return visits to resolve an issue where the seller was certain that I had broken their gas fireplace (service tech eventually found a defective sensor), plus more than an hour hunting down the age of the boiler (needed by the client's insurance agent, the manufacturer had been acquired by another company), and the end result is a customer who probably will not refer or use me again - time is really the enemy in this business.