In the summer, attic heat can increase your cooling costs when the sun beats on your roof for hours at a time. Eventually some of that heat will make its way through your ceilings, adding to the cooling load indoors. If your attic has adequate insulation and ventilation, you can avoid the heat gain that a stifling attic will add to your home.
Insulation provides thermal resistance, and adequate ventilation helps lower the amount of heat that builds throughout the day and keeps attic humidity levels from becoming excessive. Too much attic moisture can lead to mold growth and degrade the structural integrity of wood in the attic.
Our climate requires approximately 16 inches of attic insulation for thermal protection, according to recommendations by the U.S. Department of Energy. Generally speaking, if you can see the floor joists above the insulation, you should probably add some more. Sixteen inches is the equivalent of an R-value of 38 in the attic, which means that you’ll have enough insulation to resist thermal changes for 38 hours.
Batt and blown-in insulation are easy products to install and they start to improve your home’s energy efficiency immediately. It’s also a good idea to include the attic hatch or door in the insulating project (as well as air sealing) to stop heated air and energy from infiltrating downward during the summer.
Adding more ventilation to the attic by installing an attic fan will pull cooler outdoor air through the space. This is an effective way of lowering attic heat to temperatures that are nearly equal to the outside temperatures. When the attic stays hot day after day during the summer, it radiates that heat into your home even at night. By pulling the hot air out, the attic won’t reach scorching temperatures and you’ll minimize heat transfer inside your home.
Solar attic fans are available, as are electric attic fans. If you don’t have any outlets in the attic, an electrician can install one for you. You can put the fan on a timer or find one that has a thermostat that turns it on when the attic reaches a certain temperature.
If you’d like more information about attic heat, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ve provided quality HVAC services for the greater Cleveland area for more than 75 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about attic heat and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
Image courtesy of Shutterstock