At this point in the summer, after two months of solid 100+ degree temperatures, Phoenix homeowners start feeling the burden of exorbitant electric bills due to near constant use of air conditioning. When the bills are high, customers ask us how can I lower my electric bill?
There is a place many homeowners rarely or never visit that can have a huge effect on your air conditioning system, especially if you have a rooftop AC unit. The temperature of your home and ultimately the amount of your monthly electric bill are both greatly impacted by the heat in your attic. Because it’s out of sight, out of mind, most homeowners don’t consider it an important factor. Unless you have a finished upstairs, you probably don’t spend much time in your attic. For good reason; it’s stuffy, unpleasant, and usually well over 100 degrees.
How Your Attic Impacts the Temperature in the Rest of Your House
Picture a large rectangular ice cream cake fresh out of the refrigerator sitting on your kitchen counter. While you search for birthday candles to put on the cake, your husband removes a pan of scalloped potatoes from the oven which have been warming at 150 degrees. For the sake of this blog post (because he’d never really do this) he places the warm pan on top of the cool ice cream cake. Oh no. The cold ice cream frosting on the top of the cake immediately starts to melt as the heat transfers to the ice cream below. Before long, the middle of the cake starts to get mushy as the temperature of the ice cream warms. What a mess. As any expert will tell you, heat naturally flows from a warmer surface to a cooler area – seeking to merge the divergent temperatures.
The same is true of your house. The roof and attic, baking in the blazing sun, retain a lot of heat energy. When the temperature of your roof is 140+ degrees and your attic is above 110 degrees, you can be sure of one thing – all that heat is going to impact the cool temperatures in the rooms below. It’s a simple equation really, the more heat that escapes to your cool rooms below, the longer your air conditioner needs to run to cool your home to a desired temperature.
Here’s a list of attic factors that can reduce heat and help keep your home cool as well as lower your electric bill.
Insulate Your Attic
Insulating your attic helps prevent the transfer of heat from your attic to the rooms below. A home energy inspection will evaluate how effective your current insulation is. It’s important to note, there are multiple places where heat can slip through and proper insulation can help. If you live in an older home, it’s quite possible your attic is under-insulated. Consulting with a professional is advised.
What Is the Best Insulation to Use?
All insulation is not created equal. Insulation levels are categorized by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The greater the R-Value, the more improved thermal performance of the insulation. The recommended level for most attics is to insulate to R-38 or about 10 to 14 inches, depending on insulation type
Ductwork, Leaks and Insulation Ducts
Many homeowners are astonished to find out they can lose up to 40 percent of the cold air blowing out of their rooftop AC unit due to leaks and improper ductwork. As cold air departs the rooftop AC unit, the air is immediately transported to your downstairs rooms through a system of ducts which are located in the hottest part of your house. Furthermore, if the ducts have leaks or cracks, cold air is escaping (and you’re paying for it.) Having your ducts inspected, repaired and insulated will greatly improve the efficiency of your AC system.
Insulating Your Attic Could Pay Big Dividends for Your AC Experience
If homeowners could see an infrared image of heat invading their home or of cool air escaping their vents, they would probably be shocked. Remember, wherever cool air is escaping and/or hot air is invading, your paying for it, one way or another. As summer draws to a close, why not consider a service inspection to measure the efficiency of your AC unit and attic insulation. At Chandler Air, we’re here to serve you – please give us a call.