If you’re home is too hot during summer and too cold during winter, you ought to consider insulating your attic space to help reduce heat gain/loss that occurs through the top of your building. It is pretty commonly known that an insulated attic will help a home retain heat in winter better, but did you also know that it helps keep your inside space cooler during summer?
I want to go off at a slight tangent to the general theme of this air cooling oriented site to look at one of the ways in which you can maximize your air cooler’s effectiveness in your home. That would be by making sure the building is not hemorrhaging heat (in or out) through the largest space for it to get through: its roof!
Benefits of Insulating the Attic
There are several major benefits to be had from having a good quality insulating barrier installed in your attic. The most important of these for most people are the energy cost savings and the increase in winter heat retention, or summer heat deflection that it provides.
There are obvious ecological benefits that go along with the useful benefit of adding extra value to a property. However, for the purposes of this article, I want to take a look at the major climate controlling benefit of helping to keep your place cooler during the summer months.
Climate Control Benefits
The difference that having a good heat loss/gain preventative measure languishing passively in the top of your building can be surprisingly substantial. Most homeowners are very much aware that during the cold months, it can equate to a much warmer and cozier home while using less fuel to generate that warmth.
But many more are coming to realize that it’s not just during winter that their investment is paying off in spades. During summer, that radiant barrier keeps working not to keep your inside space warm, but to help keep it cool.
It works by acting as a barrier to heat permeating through the roof space and heating up the inside of the building, while also helping to prevent the cooler air inside from escaping through the roof. Now we all know that heat rises and cold sinks, so obviously there will be less of an effect on the interior climate in summer as there is in winter.
But there is enough of a difference to enable you to use less power to run air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. And that means your investment keeps on paying for itself the whole year round and not just during the cold spells.
As an aside, being well insulated can also help to keep a building that does not have air conditioning cooler in summer than it would have been without it. When combined with some of the techniques highlighted in the article linked to there, you can dramatically reduce your home’s reliance on air conditioners or even do away with them altogether!
So now let’s look at the other useful side of a temperature tight roof, the savings you can enjoy on the cost of energy.
Energy Saving Benefits
We already know that in cool climates, the greatest amount of heat loss in a home is through the roof. So installing efficient radiant plus thermal insulation in your loft space should be the first place you do it and where you can make major savings.
The same also goes for the hot summer months. A generous insulating barrier in the attic will definitely help to keep the entire house several degrees cooler than an un-insulated home of comparable size, dimensions and location.
By retaining heat in cool weather and preventing overheating in hot weather, this type of insulation will greatly reduce the amount of energy used. That goes for electricity, gas (butane/propane or natural gas), wood or oil that is used to produce the heat (or in the case of air conditioning, electricity to create cool air).
This leads to lower energy bills. It also means you are using less of the resources that are produced or imported by the country for that purpose, which leads us onto the reduction in your ecological impact.
When you use less energy to heat or cool your home, you are doing your part in the grand scheme of the environmental balance of your country and the planet on which you live. We haven’t yet got to the stage where we can draw all our energy needs from totally renewable sources.
In fact, today, less than one percent of all the energy used in the United States comes from renewable sources. In Europe, that figure is much higher, with between 10 and 20 percent of their energy produced from renewable sources.
This figure is even higher in some countries where almost 100 percent of electricity production comes from hydro-power plants. Even so, most of the world’s electricity is produced using fossil fuel (coal, oil, natural gas) which is not renewable and as the world’s supply dwindles, the price will go ever upwards.
It may sound small and barely noticeable in the grand scheme of things, but doing your bit by making your home as energy efficient as you can does help. Just think, if you do it and then 10 of your neighbors do it, then 10 of each of those neighbors’ friends do it and then a further 10 of each of their friends do it too, the exponential growth in energy saving becomes huge!
Types of Effective Attic Insulation
There are several types of radiant heat barrier insulating methods that work efficiently and effectively. These include:
- Laying fiberglass insulating material on the attic floor
- Fitting a radiant foil barrier beneath the roof tiles
- Using radiant barrier paints
- Using insulating paint
or a combination of types to maximise the R value of your loft space. More information can be found on radiant barriers by clicking that link to the relevant www.energy.gov page.
Adding Value to Your Home
This is another aspect of having the best insulation you can afford to install. It actually adds financial value to your home!
Should you decide that it has come time to sell, you will get a better price as well as better response from buyers. Many people will prefer to buy a house that is already fully insulated rather than have to go through the process of doing it themselves.