Although average summer highs in the Portland area typically top out in the low 80s, Rose City homeowners who have attics unprotected by insulation and ventilation commonly experience attic heat temperatures of 120 degrees or more. This increase in temperature at the top of your house results from the sun’s rays blasting the roof surface. It will transfer the heat right into your living spaces unless it’s impeded by insulation, a radiant barrier and/or an attic fan providing ventilation.
You can feel the ceiling of the top floor, just beneath the attic, to get an idea of how hot it is up there. And the heat transfer doesn’t stop at the ceiling, either. It works its way down to the rest of your living spaces, as hot air naturally flows toward where it’s cooler. This will make your air conditioning work harder to compensate, causing additional energy expense.
Here’s how to fix the problem. First, seal all places in your attic where air can travel between floors. This includes around the chimney and all penetrations where wires, cables or pipes go through. Next, install a good layer of insulation on the attic floor, paying extra care to seal and insulate the attic hatch cover.
This alone will reduce attic heat buildup from transferring to the spaces below, but, for the full treatment, additional insulation or a radiant barrier should be installed to your attic ceiling to help prevent heat from even entering. Finally, try installing a ventilating attic fan to remove the heat that does find its way into the attic. These steps should keep your home cooler and more comfortable, and should save you some energy dollars, too.
Roth Heating & Cooling has been a mainstay in the Portland community since 1976, serving customers from Vancouver south to Salem and from Hillsboro east to Bend. Contact us for any of your home heating/cooling needs.