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Solving Summertime Insulation Issues

As the weather gets warmer, your home’s insulation maximizes the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system, keeping you comfortable at minimal cost. Your attic insulation and ventilation play a crucial role in this, and there are some different approaches you can take to help ensure its effectiveness. In this article, we are going to provide you with some helpful information and tips to optimize your attic’s ability to keep your home comfortable and energy efficient.

The Thermal Envelope of Your Home

Your home’s thermal envelope, also known as its building envelope, consists of the structures and materials that protect the interior of your home from the outside elements. And while rooms like your kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms are all within your home’s thermal envelope, your attic might not be. Your attic’s construction features mainly depend on the style of your home and the year it was built.

thermal envelope of a home

Hot and Cold Roofing

Different methods of insulation and roof deck installation determine whether your home has what is known as a hot roof or a cold roof. A hot roof, sometimes referred to as a warm roof, is created by applying insulation to the top of the roof’s surface and underneath the roof covering. If your roof deck is in good condition, a hot roof can lead to increased thermal performance. A cold roof is created by applying insulation between the rafters. Because this method typically leaves a gap between the insulation and the roof deck, air has room to circulate which in turn enables cold air to enter.

Baffles and Attic Insulation

Baffles, also known as rafter vents, should be installed between rafters with soffit vents, the vents located under the eaves of your home. Baffles are compatible with several types of insulation; depending on your attic’s unique characteristics, we can install batt fiberglass insulation or apply spray foam, ensuring that your attic maintains your desired temperature.

application of loose fill insulation

Did You Know?

In some houses, it is easier to get complete coverage of the attic floor with blown-in loose-fill insulation. Loose-fill insulation must be prevented from shifting into vents or from contacting heat producing equipment (such as recessed lighting fixtures) by using baffles or retainers. If batts or rolls are used, the first layer should be fit between the joists. The second layer should be placed perpendicular to the first because that will help to cover the tops of the joists themselves and reduce thermal bridging through the frame. Also, be sure to insulate the trap or access door. Although the area of the door is small, an uninsulated attic door will reduce energy savings substantially.

US Department of Energy

As we mentioned in our previous article, How to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Home, we can install an attic stair tent which effectively insulates your attic stairway, preventing air leakage through its surrounding gaps.

At first it may seem odd to add insulation for warmth and then purposely allow cold air to enter the attic through vents, but this combination is the key to a durable and energy-efficient home. Here’s why: in the winter, allowing a natural flow of outdoor air to ventilate the attic helps keep it cold, which reduces the potential for ice damming (snow that melts off a roof from an attic that is too warm and then re-freezes at the gutters, causing an ice dam that can damage the roof). Proper insulation and air sealing also keeps attics cold in winter by blocking the entry of heat and moist air from below. In the summer, natural air flow in a well-vented attic moves super-heated air out of the attic, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. The insulation will resist heat transfer into the house.

Energy Star

Choosing the Right Insulation for Your Attic

At Radiant Insulation & Drywall, our insulation experts can work with you to determine the best way to insulate your attic to achieve the desired results. Contact us today to schedule a free evaluation.

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