Building insulation isn’t just for cold, winter months. In fact, insulation plays an important role in keeping occupants of homes or other buildings comfortable during hot weather. And as we see new all-time heat records set across the country summer, it’s perhaps more important than ever to think about proper insulation in your home. It can help lower energy bills, maintain a comfortable living space, even qualify homeowners for tax credits! Read on to learn more about why insulation is key during warm weather and what steps you should take
Fighting external heat gain
If you’ve left the blinds open on a window facing the afternoon summer sun, you know how quickly the room can heat up. This is one example of an external heat gain, one way that buildings heat up (undesirably) in the hotter months. Usually, external heat gains come from sunlight being absorbed by the roof, walls and windows.
There are many options to help limit external heat gains including blinds or curtains on windows, planting trees to provide natural shade on a house, and using lighter colored paint on a home’s exterior. Most importantly – but something often overlooked since it’s out of sight – is making sure a home has proper attic insulation.
Why attic insulation?
When the sun shines on a dark roof, heat is absorbed and then radiates into the attic space. If an attic doesn’t have proper insulation and ventilation, the hot air can quickly transfer to rooms on the upper floor of the home. Insulation slows the transfer of heat. So on hot days, a well-insulated house can hold off that hot air in an attic longer, meaning the living space stays cooler longer. This means you can wait longer to turn on the AC, therefore lowering your energy bills – it’s a domino effect.
Recommended attic insulation amounts vary, depending on your climate zone, and are usually between 13 and 18 inches deep. We recommend checking, or having your attic checked, for adequate and evenly distributed insulation. Sometimes workers such as electricians or plumbers might shift insulation around, which can create pockets in the attic where there is little to no insulation. Then heat passes rapidly from the attic through the ceiling in those areas, so it’s important to check for attic insulation disruptions.
Insulation = savings
If a home could benefit from additional insulation, there are tax credits for homeowners that can make installation even more attractive! Through the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit, homeowners can receive a tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of insulation materials installed, up to $1,200 each year. There is no lifetime dollar limit to 25C tax credits, so homeowners can make energy efficiency upgrades year after year and continue to collect the 30% tax credit.
Consider improvements to your attic insulation this summer. You’ll stay cooler and your bank account will thank you.