Shade feels cooler on hot summer days because it shields you from the sun’s radiant heat. While your roof does provide this protection, it also re-radiates this heat into your attic, increasing the temperature of the air and the rest of the structure. Unlike the outdoors where heat can diffuse into a large quantity of air, your attic is a confined space, so it reaches much higher temperatures. These higher temperatures mean it’s more important to have sufficient insulation between your home and your attic than it is to have it between your home and the outdoor air.
Without attic insulation, the heat in your attic would quickly absorb into the attic floor, which would lead to the ceilings on the top story of your house being very hot. This would force your air conditioner to work harder and lead to higher energy bills. Attic insulation prevents this by greatly limiting the amount of heat that gets through.
Your air conditioner will also have to work harder if cool air is allowed to escape into the attic through air leaks, so you’ll want to make sure none of these are present under the insulation. These are commonly found around any recessed lighting or fans, as well as wiring, piping and access hatches. Air leaks can be sealed with caulking or weather stripping. Good air sealing also improves the performance of attic insulation because insulation doesn’t work as well in the presence of air currents.
On the other hand, air currents are great between your attic and the exterior. Good ventilation allows your attic to shed heat by expelling its hot air and bringing in the cooler outdoor air.
If you notice any ductwork in your attic while you’re up there, you’ll also want to make sure it’s well-sealed and insulated. Otherwise, the heat in your attic will be able to creep into the cooled air before it even makes it to the living area of your home.
If you want help with your attic insulation, contact Stack Heating and Cooling for professional help. We’ve been helping the people of the Greater Cleveland area since 1976.
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 insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock