How to Ensure Your Attic Remains Cool in Summer

As temps rise and rise, our furnaces are shutting off, and our air conditioners are about to see their first use for the year. Soon enough, we’ll be in the peak of summer, where the sun’s rays beat down on our rooftops for the vast majority of the day. Along with summer, we tend to see a spike in electricity consumption, since the AC unit will be whirring for much of the day. And with an inefficient attic, your AC unit can work overtime. Plus, rooms closest to your attic can prove to be uncomfortably hot, since heat rises and it can settle in the top floor of your home. So what can you do to keep heat from penetrating your roof and attic space? Well, we have a series of tips that you can follow to ensure that your attic and roof keep cool, so you can keep comfortable.

Passive Air Flow

Attics are designed to allow air to flow through them. While this may seem like a bad idea in the winter, since cold air can flow closer to the rest of your home, ventilation is perfect for summer months, since it keeps your attic at a moderate temperature. Beyond that, the ventilation of your attic ensures that moisture doesn’t build up, where it can become stagnant, creating ideal conditions for mold to thrive. Your attic should be outfitted with vents that allow air to flow up and through the space. Unless you have an older home, it’s likely that your attic is outfitted with a combination of ridge vents (at the top of the roof), soffit vents (near the gutters of your roof), gable vents (at gables that cap the ends of your attic), and roof or cupola vents (which protrude from your roof). Combined, these vents make it easy for air to passively flow through your attic, pulling in fresh air and taking away the hot air that your roof has absorbed. Have your roof inspected to ensure that you have sufficient ventilation and strategically placed vents in order to keep air moving. Ventilation can be retrofitted with flashing (a metal skirt at the base of a vent) on your current roof system, or it can be installed easily while you are installing a new roof.

Install a Fan

If passive air flow isn’t sufficient to cool your attic, you can install a fan and a vent which will aid in removing hot air from the space. Fans are relatively inexpensive, and rather energy efficient (since they use a simple, electric motor), and you will see savings on your air conditioning bill that will offset the cost of the fan and its electrical usage. Consider installing a fan if your roof doesn’t get enough passive air flow, which can be common if you’re surrounded by nearby homes or tall trees.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

While insulation keeps warm air in during the winter, it also keeps hot air out during the summer. You’ll want to ensure that your attic is properly insulated to keep warmth from seeping into your home. Insulation is especially useful on the floor of your attic, since this provides a barrier against hot air — even when the attic is warm, a well-insulated attic floor will keep the rest of your home cool. If you’re concerned about cool air seeping out of your home, you can rent a thermal camera (or hire an inspector) in order to take a look at your attic. Keep an eye out for hot spots in the interior of your home, and head up to the attic to view cool spots — the cold spots indicate that air is leaking out of the sub-attic spaces of your home, so you’ll need to add more insulation, or you may need to improve the walls and ceilings of your home’s interior. If you’re placing insulation along the roof of your attic, or on attic walls, be cautious not to cover up any vents. Again, these vents help to provide passive air flow through your attic, and clogging these vents with insulation will harbor hot air in your attic.

Consider a New, Cool Roof

If you have an old roof with black shingles, then your roof may cause your temps to spike when your home is in full sun. Consider installing a new roof with a material that helps to reflect the sun’s rays away from your home, instead of absorbing the rays in the form of heat. You can also have a thermal underlayment installed beneath your roofing material to improve its heat resistance. If you’re installing new shingles, opt for shingles that are lighter colored, as well as those with more granules, since the granules act as reflective surfaces. You can also find shingles that are specifically designed to reduce heat gain. Also, you can invest in metal roofing, which naturally reflects solar rays. Plus you can paint a metal roof with light, reflective paint, further reducing heat gain.

Shade Trees

While you don’t want to plant trees too near to your home, a large shade tree can cast a shadow over your roof, which will greatly reduce heat gain. Consider planting tree species that grow 40 feet or larger, and plant these trees about 20 feet away from your home. While you won’t get any heat reduction this summer, your home will be protected from exposure in time.

Solar Panels

Produce energy for your abode and keep it free from exposure with solar panels! Install solar panels on the most exposed areas of your house to earn free energy while reducing the amount of heat gain that could make its way through your attic. You’ll earn money on your investment through energy production as well as energy savings from lower AC bills!

Get a Cool Roof With Rock Solid

If your roof is turning your home into a sauna, then it’s time for an upgrade. New materials and installation techniques have made roof systems more efficient, so that you don’t have to keep the AC whirring day in and day out this summer. You can count on Rock Solid Exteriors to install a cool roof system for your home. Plus, we can install new ventilation and add insulation while we’re up there. If you’re looking for a roofer and insulation specialist, you can reach out to the pros here at Rock Solid Exteriors — give us a call today to improve your home!

Updated: 9/16/2022

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