The weather outside may be frightful, but in your attic it’s quite delightful. Well, it is compared to being in your attic in July. NOW is the time to think ahead and work on a few simple projects that can have a HUGE difference before you get your summer electric bills.
I’m about to reveal the FOUR SILVER BULLETS for making your home more energy efficient in HOT CLIMATES. I’m especially talking about your typical one-story, ranch style home in the South.
Picture yourself sitting in your living room on hot August afternoon. The sun is beating down and it’s about 95º outside. What’s between you and the bazillion degree sun?
Four layers: 1) Roof 2) Attic 3) Leaking Ductwork in the Attic 4) Insulation
If you fix each “layer” between you and the heat from the sun, your home WILL BE MORE EFFICIENT AND COMFORTABLE EVERY TIME!!! Guaranteed. It is not complicated; just follow the recipe for success.
Layer #1 – Roof
Problem: It gets to be about 150º or more and basically acts like a big sponge to absorb heat. This heat is then radiated to the next layer.
Silver Bullet #1 = Radiant Barrier
Installing a radiant barrier is the next best thing to a giant tree instantly landing over your home. In certain roofing systems, radiant barrier can be applied directly under the shingles since there is an air gap.Your roof will still absorb the heat, but now rather than that heat being transferred to the home, it will be reflected AWAY.
Layer #2 – Attic
Problem: Because most attics don’t have enough (or proper) ventilation, the AIR inside the attic basically gets “Clogged” like a drain in a bathtub. The air has nowhere to go and it just heats up and “fills up” the attic. Hot air in the attic will heat up the insulation AND heat up your ductwork that is supposed to have nice cold air running through it.
Silver Bullet #2 = Attic Ventilation
Attic ventilation is real simple. All you need is holes in the top and holes in the bottom. The more holes, the more outside (relatively cool) air moves through the attic and the cooler the attic air. The lowest the air inside the attic can go is near ambient (outside) temperature. The overlooked key to fixing attic ventilation is usually more soffit vents.
Layer #3 – Leaking Ductwork In The Attic
Problem: Putting Ductwork in the attic is about a dumb as making ice cream in the oven. Since you can’t move the ductwork, at least keep it from leaking. Most homes have duct leakage ranging from 15-50%. Older homes and homes with old metal ductwork usually have the highest leakage. What this means is that probably 25% or more of the cold air you are buying is being blown into the attic OR Hot dirty attic air is being SUCKED into your home if the leaks are on the return side of the AC system.
Silver Bullet #3 = Seal Ducts In Attic
If 30% of your water from your sprinkler were spraying into the street, you would fix it today. Why not do the same for your ductwork? Have your ductwork sealed or replaced. A tight duct system will save energy and increase comfort. Plus, indoor air quality will improve by reducing humidity and dust from being pulled into the home.
Layer #4 – Attic Insulation
Problem: Most homes do not have enough attic insulation to create a good thermal barrier between either the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter.
Silver Bullet #4 = Attic Insulation
Increase your attic insulation to the recommend level for your area. Check the DOE (Department Of Energy) for recommendations.
There you go. Four silver bullets for fixing your summer electric bill. Your attic is waiting.
I've written several other posts on this that you might be interested in. Check these posts below: