Friday, June 19th by Shannon Brelsford
The quick and simple answer is, yes, attic insulation does help in the summer. But to know why, that will need a little more explaining. There’s lots of science behind the insulation industry, and though it may seem fairly straight forward, it’s actually a little more complicated than what meets the eye.
When the summer sun beats down continually on your roof, hot and cold air tends to behave differently than it would in the colder, winter months. As we all know, attic insulation helps to keep our home feeling comfortable. As it works to keep us warm during harsh, winter weather, it also plays a major role in keeping us cool in the scorching heat of the summer. This can further be explained by what is called “The Stack Effect” and “The Reverse Stack Effect”.
The Stack Effect-We’ve all heard the age-old adage, “hot air rises.” and this statement is true, however, only sometimes. This is actually a reference to a natural process dubbed “The Stack Effect”. This process occurs during colder weather when the air in your home is typically much warmer than the outside air. The heat in your home will naturally rise to the highest areas of the structure, such as your attic, closest to the chill of the exterior, and the cold winter air. Acting as a way to retain the heat inside, attic insulation helps keep you and your family warm and comfortable.
The Reverse Stack Effect-If you’ve ever gone outside on a chilly day without a coat on, you know that your body gets cold very quickly. This is because heat is attracted to the cold, therefore the heat that your body produces automatically releases into the cold in an attempt to warm the air around you. This is the same reason why on a hot summer day when your AC unit is working to keep your home cool, the hot air outside is attracted to the much cooler temperature inside. This is commonly referred to as “the Reverse Stack Effect”. In this case, the insulation in your attic actually works to retain this cold air produced by your AC unit in your home, preventing warm air from entering.
On a usual hot summer day, the average attic in a fairly temperate region can reach up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. As mentioned above, this Reverse Stack Effect helps retain this cool air in your home, shielding away any outdoor heat. Without proper insulation and air sealing in the summer, this heat can easily make its way through the home, raising the overall temperature an average of 10 degrees. This will do no good to your home in the summer, since your cooling systems will be forced to work overtime, resulting in higher energy bills, and the risk of overloading the system.
Of course, to avoid such issues, proper attic insulation is just as essential in the winter months as it is in the summer months. There are many different types of attic insulation options available, but how do you begin to choose the correct type for your home’s attic? This is where professional assistance is recommended. Here at Dr. Energy Saver, our contractors always perform free, no-obligation estimates and consultations so that you’re informed of just what your house needs to be in tip-top shape for any season.
There are many different types of insulation that are used in homes including, but not limited to:
Blown-In Cellulose Insulation: A soft fluffy material made from recycled paper and pumped into walls and attics. This method of being blown-in provides a thick layer of insulation that provides great comfort to your home.
Rigid-Foam Insulation: Sturdy foam panels composed of hard plastics such as Polyurethane or Polystyrene among others. This insulation is known for being very durable and will not shift out of place.
Radiant Barrier Insulation: Thin boards of cardboard, kraft paper, or plastic films wrapped in highly reflective material, typically aluminum foil.
Air Sealing: Not an insulation per se, but important all the same, the process uses a foam composed of reactive compounds that create an expansive material to fill gaps and stop air leakage. Air sealing is used around smaller, common areas of air leakage, such as windows, doors, duct systems, and other wall cracks.
There are other things to keep in mind as well--such as R-value, or the insulations “Thermal Resistance”. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation will be, and the less you’ll have to worry about keeping your home temperate and comfortable.
If you’ve been having concerns about your attics insulation, our highly trained specialists are just a call away--so reach out today for your free, no-obligation estimate!