During a recent conversation with a home owner, I mentioned that most insulation companies are operating wide open right now. He responded “I wouldn’t think that insulation would be as important during the summer months.” Seeing an opportunity to educate a home owner, I gave him an explanation.
Going back to the “house as a cooler” concept, you want to do everything you can to keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside. The Second Law of Thermodynamics simply states that hot goes to cold. So when it’s hot outside, the heat will do everything it can to force its way into your home. Because houses gain (and lose) the most heat through top of the home, it is extremely important that there be a continuous air and thermal barrier in the attic. According to the Dept. of Energy, R-values for our climate zone range from a minimum of R-30 to maximum R-60. In our area, R-40 is adequate.
Considering that even a well ventilated attic reaches temperatures in the 140’s on a sunny day, your attic basically becomes a broiler. This effect turns poorly insulated ceilings and knee walls (vertical walls between attic and interior space) into giant radiators. If you have lots of holes drilled into the tops of interior stud walls (which are hollow), that same hot air is allowed to circulate inside them, turning those walls into radiators also.
All of these things add up to a home that is uncomfortable, an air conditioner that runs all day, and utility bills that stretch even the most liberal of budgets. So yes, insulation (and air sealing) is very important during the summer months for not only keeping you comfortable, but for saving you money. Not sure what your home needs? Start by getting an energy audit to find the most cost effective solutions for your home. Need more info? Enter questions or comments below, email me @ JonL@theNRGguy, or contact me through Facebook or my website. So until next time, thanks for reading and….Don’t throw money at your problems, throw knowledge, it’s a lot cheaper.