My friend Ashley doesn’t turn her HVAC on until it’s 80℉ outside.
“It’s just so expensive,” she tells me, wiping beads of sweat off of her face. It’s hard to hear her over the box fans running in every room.
And as uncomfortable as her place is? I understand why she does it.
Paying the electric bill in the summer is a big hit to everyone’s wallet. A lot of folks, like Ashley, say that if it worked for our grandparents…it should work for us, too. I’m not one to fault thrift, we all have our cost saving tricks…but she must be a saint to stay calm as her kids protest!
Even if you do flip on the AC before 80℉ , the department of energy recommends keeping your home’s temperature at 78℉ during the day, and 82℉ at night to keep the stress off the power grid (and your finances).
But what if I told you that you can save up to 20% on your energy bills even in the middle of summer….and still have nice, cold AC?
Sound impossible? Like having your cake and eating it too? The good news is- it’s not!
The secret isn’t very glamorous but I assure you once you get that first electric bill you’ll be over the moon. Here it is:
Proper attic ventilation.
How Hot Should My Attic Be?
Did you know that a hot attic affects the rest of your house?
It’s true! When properly ventilated, an attic should only be 20℉ hotter than outside.
But an unventilated attic? It can get as hot as 150℉ in the summer- and this heat isn’t just a problem for your attic.
That hot attic air can travel through the rest of your home, forcing your HVAC system to work harder than ever. More than just stress on your systems, other issues include:
- Shingle damage (yes! Your hot attic can actively “cook” your shingles and cause premature wear!)
- Mold and mildew
- And winter ice dams
In order to understand how important attic ventilation is, you have to rethink your attic. It’s not just a place to store your Christmas decorations…
Your attic is a protective barrier for your home. It keeps heat and humidity outside, and regulates your roof’s temperature year round.
Today, let’s look at the three ways a ventilated attic can save money and protect your home.
How to Save on Your Energy Bill
After a long day spent outside, you step inside to cool off. You pour a nice glass of lemonade, take a deep breath of cool air, and then pull down the attic ladder.
Instead of cooling down in the living room- you get comfortable in the attic.
“What?” you say, “That would be crazy!”
Of course it would be!
In a matter of seconds the ice in your lemonade would melt clean away. Instead of feeling refreshed, you’d find yourself dripping with sweat and even hotter than you were outside.
You know heat rises. That makes your attic the hottest place to be in the summer. The bad news? That same hot air escape into your home, making your HVAC work more than it needs too.
So what’s the solution?
What is Stack Ventilation- And How Does It Cool Your Home?
This type of ventilation (also called passive ventilation) is made up of two different types of vents.
The intake vents allow cool air to enter the attic, and the exhaust vents let hot air out.
Here’s a breakdown of what that looks like:
This system regulates the temperature of your attic, keeping it from overheating. Heat rises, and this system uses that to its advantage.
There are many different designs that fall under this category. While they all work in a similar way, some designs are best for different types of roofs. Want to know more? Our Roof and Attic Vent Quick Guide is here to help!
This method of ventilating air flow cools keeps your top cool all summer long, saving you hundreds on energy bills every year!
How Summer Heat Damages Your Roof
There’s nothing your asphalt shingles hate more than heat. And that uninsulated attic? It only makes matters worse.
Did you know that when asphalt shingles become overheated, they can melt?
It’s true! And as they cool back down, they begin to contract and crack.
And if there’s one thing that’s worse for your shingles than heat, it’s water. Heat and water damage go hand in hand here. When your asphalt shingles are damaged, you’ve lost your main defense against water.
The first step to cooling your roof is through proper attic ventilation, but sometimes you need more protection from the heat.
Choosing a roof for your new build? Looking to replace your old roof?
The best roof material for unshaded homes is metal. Why?
- Metal is reflective, improving energy efficiency in high temperatures
- Fire resistant
- Lasts 2-3x longer than other roofing materials
Metal roofing continues to grow in popularity in every American climate.
If you have a home in full sunlight but aren’t keen on metal, there are other options. Slate and stone coated steel roofs also hold up great against the sun. Our Ultimate Roofing Guide covers the pros and cons of the top roofing materials to help you make the best decision for your home.
Prefer asphalt shingles for your roof? Don’t worry- we can still help. Although asphalt doesn’t hold up as well under extreme heat, there are preventative measures to guarantee your roof lasts.
Similar to the way we apply sunscreen, you can apply roof coating to protect your shingles from damage. The coating needs to be applied every ten years but offers extra protection from both the sun and water damage.
Still, it’s better to address a problem at its root. Great ventilation and insulation that’s sized right for your home is the best way to protect your home long-term. If your home is a new build or just in an area without shade, consider planting a few slow-growth hardwood trees so the next generation has a better chance of keeping the house cool.
Is Moisture Making Your Home Too Warm In The Summer?
Did you know that new homes are more susceptible to mold than older builds?
It’s true! New homes are built efficiently to save energy. The trade off is that they don’t have much natural ventilation. The less ventilation, the more likely you are to experience mold growth.
In our article, Mold Myths and Risks, we talked about the mold problems new homes can face. Here’s a quick refresh:
- All homes have mold- but not all have a mold problem. Mold thrives on temperature, food, and moisture.
- Although you can’t really control the first two factors, limiting moisture exposure protects against mold.
So what does this have to do with your attic?
Mold LOVES your attic. What’s worse? Because we don’t spend a lot of time in our attic, mold problems can get out of hand before we even realize they’re there. Improperly vented attics can lead to sick building syndrome, and the beginning of a much larger mold issue.
Remember earlier when we talked about stack ventilation? This system of venting out old hot air and replacing it with cool air helps eliminate mold risks. Your attic needs the right blend of fresh air and ventilation. One without the other can cause issues down the road.
An overheated attic leads to roof damage, but a completely sealed attic causes mold.
So how do you find the right balance?
Work with a professional. Only a professional will be able to assess the best ventilation for your attic and install it correctly the first time.
That’s where we can help.
The Best Installation for Your Home
Here at Martin, there’s nothing more important to us than your home.
We only work with the highest quality materials and we pride ourselves on doing our work right the first time. This means you get worry-free solutions to problems like high energy bills due to poor attic ventilation.
Protecting your home starts at the top, and we’re here to help. Our goal? To make your house a comfortable, enjoyable place to come home, too. That means a cool home in the summer, and a cozy home in the winter.
Need help with your new roof installation? Ready to install ventilation that lasts? We’re here to help.
Vern and his team have been protecting homes in Schuylkill County for over 30 years! If you have questions about your home’s roof or ventilation, we’d love to hear from you.
Give Vern a call at 570-345-0406 and start protecting your home today.