Insulation Isn’t Just a Winter Thing
Most people know proper insulation keeps heat in the house during winter, helping maintain a comfortable temperature and low heating costs. However, insulation is a two-way material that also keeps heat out of the home in summer. Heat energy naturally flows from a hotter zone to a cooler zone. In winter, that means heat tends to escape the house. In summer, heat wants to invade the house. Summer heat gain causes your air conditioner to run longer cycles to maintain thermostat settings, driving up energy consumption and cooling costs.
Why the Attic?
Most household heat infiltration in summer originates from the attic, due to solar energy radiating through the roof. Temperatures up there can reach 150 degrees on a hot day. Attic heat conducting and radiating through the ceiling can raise temperatures in rooms below 10 degrees, significantly burdening your air conditioner with added cooling load. The only thing standing between a broiling attic and your living spaces is the layer of insulation in the attic floor.
What Kind of Insulation?
Fortunately, the attic’s also the easiest place to upgrade insulation. Attic insulation is available in fiberglass roll-out batts — the familiar pink blankets that fit between the ceiling joists — or as blown-in cellulose loose fill that looks like mounds of snow and completely covers the attic floor. Another option is spray foam, applied to the attic floor and underside of the roof to prevent the radiation of solar heat into the attic.
Insulation efficiency is measured by its R-factor. Many homes today are under-insulated by newer, more efficient standards. In our climate zone, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends insulating attics to a level of R38 to R60. That translates to a installed depth of 16 inches to 27 inches of fiberglass batts or 13 inches to 21 inches of cellulose loose-fill.
At Sobieski Services, Inc. our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.