Attic Insulation: For More Of What You Want Downstairs, Boost What You Have Upstairs

Posted On: August 08, 2012

Out of sight, out of mind. The insulation in your attic works all year round, saving you money and increasing your family’s comfort, without requiring maintenance or repair. But could it be doing even more?

Here in the Metro East area, with our cold winters and hot summers, insulation serves double duty: In the winter, it retains the heat that you paid for, and in the summer it inhibits both the loss of cooled air and the inward transference of the sun’s energy.

Winter. Because heat rises, it seeps upward from the living space through the ceiling, attic hatch and utility openings, and then enters the attic where it’s entirely wasted. Worse, once it’s cooled, it seeps back downward into the rooms you want kept warm. This negative cycle can be reduced by increasing the insulation that lays between the rafters.

Summer. The “heat rises” rule would suggest that a hot attic won’t affect conditions inside the home below it, but that’s not the case. Attics become extremely hot – up to 150 degrees when it’s in the 90s outside – and this baking heat transfers to the entire structure of the house.

All year. Competition with your HVAC system, whether it’s heat loss and cold air coming in during the winter or the sun’s energy transferring from the attic in the summer, increases energy usage. Increased energy usage translates directly into increased bills.

Ductwork. Aside from the importance of having adequate attic insulation on upper surfaces of the ceilings, the cladding around your ducts must be up to standard. Heat transference through the duct walls warms the treated air in the summer, so your A/C has to run longer to get rooms down to the thermostat’s set temperature. In the winter it saps the heat in the airstream, and the furnace has to run longer.

The technicians at Ernst Heating & Cooling understand that when it comes to attic insulation, the more you have upstairs, the cooler you’ll stay downstairs (or warmer, in the winter). Contact us to schedule an inspection and evaluation.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about attic insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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