maintenance

Check Your Attic for High Temps. Insulation and Ventilation Will Solve the Problem

Published on: August 16, 2012

Attics, especially in older homes, may not be property insulated and ventilated. Not only will properly venting and insulating your attic save on fuel costs by improving the energy efficiency of your HVAC system, the upgrade may also prevent damage to your home. If the temperature in your attic is considerably higher in both the summer and winter months than the temperature in the living area, you should check the ventilation and insulation in your attic.

 

Insulating the Attic to Improve Comfort and Save Energy

Many homes do not have insulation installed in the attic, and many more homes have attics that are not sufficiently insulated. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that more than 40 percent of energy loss in homes is due to a poorly insulated attic. Insulating the attic, or increasing the insulation in the attic, will often lower fuel bills by increasing the energy efficiency of the heating and air conditioning system. Foam insulation that is blown into the attic area not only insulates the attic but the material seals cracks and gaps between beams and vents. Filling in the gaps and cracks creates a more effective barrier to keeping the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

 

Adding or increasing attic insulation is one way to reduce your home’s energy usage and save money on your fuel costs year-round. Insulation is an inexpensive upgrade and you will likely recover the costs of the project by lower fuel bills over a heating or cooling season as your home’s energy efficiency will be improved.

 

Insulating the Attic to Prevent Damage to the Home

Insulating the attic will actually cause the attic to remain cooler in the winter, as well. If you live in a region where freezing temperatures are common in the winter, you may have seen ice dams form around your roof. Ice dams are dangerous and may cause damage to the structure of your home. If your attic is too warm in the winter, ice and snow will melt from the bottom up. This melting pattern causes the water to refreeze into ice around the edges of the roof. These formations of ice are known as ice dams.

When ice dams melt, the water often seeps into the home causing extensive damage to the structure. Improving the attic insulation will prevent ice dams from forming around your roof. Because the attic remains cooler, ice and snow melts from the top down and drains off the roof instead of forming ice dams. Insulating or upgrading the insulating material in your attic may save you thousands of dollars in repairs due to water damage caused by ice dams.

 

If you currently have problems with ice dams, you can take one of the remedial steps below to remove the ice dams and prevent serious damage to the home.

– Use a snow rake to remove the ice and snow from the roof edges.
– Use warm water to hose down the ice dams. You will need to wait for warmer temperatures to accomplish this task. – Apply steam to the roof.

 

Remember, never use a shovel or a hammer to chop off the ice dams, and never use a blow torch. You may cause extensive damage to the roof.

 

Ventilating the Attic

Attic ventilation is also important to keep your home energy efficient and to prevent damage. Without proper ventilation in a hot attic, condensation may accumulate and the moisture that builds up in the attic may cause mold, mildew or even damage to the structure. Attic vents allow moisture to escape from the area and keep moisture from collecting. An attic that is not properly ventilated may eventually manifest damage to the roofing. Ridge and soffit vents are necessary to ventilate a hot attic. Ridge and soffit vents allow air to freely flow through the space under the roof deck. The attics in many homes, especially older homes, are not sufficiently ventilated.

 

The attics in some homes may require power ventilation. However, in order to properly estimate the size of the power vent for your attic, enlist the services of a certified heating and air conditioning company. Some power ventilators may interfere with the furnace and fireplace ventilation. A certified HVAC professional will assist you in selecting the proper size of power ventilator for your attic.

 

A well-ventilated attic, along with sufficiently insulating the attic, will increase the energy efficiency of your heating and air conditioning system. In addition, you may avoid costly repairs by ensuring proper air flow and water drainage in the winter. Insulating the attic is a relatively inexpensive improvement that may save you a considerable amount of money in fuel costs. If the temperatures in your attic tend to be much warmer than the rest of the home, insulating and ventilating the attic will protect your home from damage and keep your home more comfortable and improve energy efficiency.