Your Attic: Is it an Energy and Money Waster?

Your Attic: Is it an Energy and Money Waster?

Not all attic spaces are created equal. Some may be furnished and livable, while others may be little more than crawl spaces for ductwork to pass through. But regardless of how your attic is used, its position at the top of your house makes it an important part of your home’s thermal envelope — and means that, if it’s not handled correctly, it could be costing you energy and money.

During the hot months, attic spaces are warmed by the sunlight hitting the roof. If the attic has poor ventilation, it may warm up to a temperature significantly higher than the outdoor air, and that heat can then radiate downward into your home, causing your air conditioner to work harder to compensate. In the cooler months, though, warm air rising into attic spaces is lost to your living areas — and may escape from your home altogether, causing your furnace to work harder to make up for it. Both of these mean that you end up spending more money on your heating and cooling.

There are several ways to combat this energy loss. One is to seal any air leaks in your attic space, and insulate it thoroughly. Air leaks allow conditioned air to escape your home, while insufficient insulation allows heat energy to move into or out of your home without needing to be carried by air currents. In Portland, it’s recommended that you insulate attic spaces to between R38 and R60. Be sure to have your attic inspected — especially if it’s a crawl space attic or an attic in an older home, it may have developed new air leaks or other concerns as your house has aged and settled.

Another approach is to add ventilation to your attic space. Ventilation can exhaust hot, stale air and bring in fresh, cooler air, reducing the threat of radiant heat.

To learn more about how you can keep your attic space from costing you money, call Roth Heating & Cooling today!

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