Attic Insulation: Not Just for the Cold Weather
There is a common misconception concerning the need of proper insulation – especially attic insulation – in areas with a warmer climate or even in cold areas during the hot summer months. Most people assume that insulation is only important in the winter. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The role of insulation is to prevent heat transfer of any type. During the winter, it will prevent the transfer of the heat from the conditioned area to the cold attic and eventually to the outside. With the proper insulation installed, your home will take less time to heat, and your heating system won’t need to work so hard, saving you energy and helping to lower energy costs.
During the summer, however, attic insulation is also extremely important to keep your home cool. The sun-exposed roof absorbs a lot of heat and as a result, temperatures in the attic can reach scorching levels. Without proper insulation, all that heat will be transferred into the living, conditioned space through the ceiling, making your air conditioner work harder. Your home will be uncomfortable and your cooling bills will be very high.
Don’t Forget Air Sealing!
While a properly insulated attic is the main component of an energy efficient home, it is important to keep in mind that insulation alone, without proper air sealing, is not as effective. A lot of energy is also wasted through air leakages.
The air inside a building is consistently moving upwards. Warm air rises and escapes through any openings in the highest parts of the building. As a result, negative pressure builds at the bottom of the structure causing new, unconditioned air from the outside, to be sucked into the living space, making your HVAC system work harder year-round to keep up. In building science, that physics phenomenon is known as the "stack effect".
To get the best results in terms of comfort and energy savings, it is a good idea to have your home professionally air sealed first, before adding more insulation to the attic. An energy conservation professional can come to your home, perform a blower door test to measure air leakage and then seal your home to meet optimum standards.
A Nice Surprise
Is your home uncomfortable during the summer? Are some rooms hotter than others? Do you think you need to spend more money on a brand new, bigger air conditioning system?
Maybe your air conditioner is a little outdated, but all it needs is a little help to work at its highest efficiency level. In fact, after having the home professionally air sealed and insulated, many homeowners are pleasantly surprised to find out not only that their existing system is good enough, but sometimes they can actually downsize, replacing their air conditioning system with a much smaller system, saving space and money!