News & FAQ

How to Keep Your Attic Cool During the Summer

Nic Wanderscheid Home Performance Manager

If you think it’s hot outside during the summer, step into your attic and see which is worse. You’ll more than likely prefer the outside heat to your stuffy, dark and sweltering attic. As a rule of thumb, if it’s 90 degrees outside, your attic shouldn’t exceed 110 degrees.

To cut costs and stay cool and comfortable this summer, give your attic a little TLC. It’ll do wonders for both you and your home!

There are several ways to keep your home from becoming an oven, including:

Insulation

  • It’s pretty common knowledge that heat rises, so it only makes sense that the attic is the hottest place in your home, especially during the summer. A toasty attic can actually shorten the lifespan of various parts of your roof system.
  • Add a layer of insulation to your attic floor to keep the heat from radiating down into areas. To offer some guidelines, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends using insulation with a higher R-value to get more insulation with less thickness. Not all insulation is the same so be sure your insulation is appropriate for your home and its location.
  • Be sure attic access panels are insulated with rigid foam board and sealed tightly. Leaking attic access can add a few degrees of heat to the room its located in.
  • Together with proper ventilation, rest assured you and your family won’t be dripping in sweat this hot summer.

Seal Ductwork

  • If ductwork runs through your attic, make sure that it is sealed and well-insulated. Unsealed ductwork will only cost you, as it can allow cool air to seep into the attic while your AC hits overdrive, working to keep your home cool.
  • If you’ve noticed high utility bills, poor indoor air quality, and/or long operating times, you could have some serious duct leakage.
  • If cool air is leaking in an attic you also have a potential for condensation in your attic.
  • If you have noticed damp areas or water leaks in the ceiling be sure to have a professional evaluate your ductwork to ensure it is correctly sealed and insulated.

Install Attic Ventilation

  • An attic needs air to flow through it and not mix with the air inside of your home.  There are several great options to pull the cooler air from outside and mix it with the air in the attic.  This air then needs to leave the attic through attic fans or vents at the peak. A correctly ventilated attic will increase the life of your roof system and decrease your costs to cool your home in the summer.
  • There are both active and passive ventilation systems. Active ventilation uses a fan or mechanical system to remove the hot air that builds up in the attic. A passive system uses the design of the attic to allow warmer air to exit at the peak and cooler air to enter at the lowest part of the attic.
  • These two types of systems do not work well if they are used together, however.
  • Before installing an attic fan, have a licensed contractor conduct a home assessment to see if your home can support such a system.
  • Unfortunately, some homes are not well-equipped to support such systems. For example, there are homes that do not have enough outside ventilation openings for the fan to draw in air from the outside.

Make Service Legends your go-to HVAC technician for all things cooling-related.

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