The team at Attics and More doesn’t need a crystal ball to know it’s cold inside too. One of the benefits of having so much customer contact is the ability to learn in real-time what’s happening in our prospective clients’ homes. The main complaints are cold spots in the house, especially on the second floor of the home, and the room that sits above an attached garage.

November days in the 70⁰s are gone. The discomfort of the cold in your home is not inviting, and your heater is working overtime to keep up with the cold temperature inside your house. Those with ice-cold bedrooms are huddling under ten comforters each, and there is relentless complaining  (especially after taking a shower) that you cannot get and stay warm.

The good news is that there is a fix — one that is just as good at stopping cold spots in the winter as it is nixing hot spots in the summer.

I had a woman from Philadelphia call recently, and she told me that she knew nothing about attics. She had purchased and now shares a home with her 91-year-old father. She complained about the cold to her father, and he told her that the culprit was their attic. She was surprised to hear it, but she gave me a call. Her father was right. Other issues arise when you have a room above an attached garage. The loudest complaints come from families where the master bedroom sits above the garage, and it is an icebox—no room for romance in a freezer.

If you speak to any HVAC professional or roofer, they will tell you the same thing. The problem lies within the attic and, in the case of the room above the garage, it lies in the garage’s insulation or lack thereof. We appreciate that these specialists reinforce our educated message to our customers.

The solution is simple and scientific. I don’t “math” well, but science makes sense. We try to educate our consumers so they are better positioned to know what they are getting for their investment and why. I tell our customers who are getting multiple bids on a project what to ask the other companies. We strive to not only do a good job but the best job. Once you are our customer, you will remain our customer forever, and we are here to assist you should any questions arise in the future after we do a project in your home.

Seal, Insulate, and Ventilate Your Attic

Air Sealing Your Attic

Now, onto the education part. We preach “seal, insulate, and ventilate.” The cold and warm air is always trying to find each other. This is where the sealing comes in. In the winter, the warm air is finding its way outside while the cold air wants to come inside. The only way to stop this is to air seal the attic.

Our air sealing service, which will seal holes and leaks in your attic, can significantly cut down on air leakage and can have an immediate impact on your energy bills. An added benefit is that sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort.

Insulation In Your Attic

The next component is to insulate. Insulation is measured in something called an R-Value, and in the tri-state area of New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, we want to insulate our attic to a level of R-38 or 15 inches. We do things a bit differently from the way other insulation companies do. We provide a guaranteed bag count of insulation, as well as an R-Value guarantee.  The blown-in fiberglass insulation that we install is done by bag count, not just height, to reach the proper R-Value of R-38 or 15 inches. Some companies set their blowers to blow the material in a fluffier consistency to reach that level using fewer bags. With Attics and More, you will receive the full bag count, even if that increases your insulation height and value to level R-44. You will also receive the lifetime R-Value Guarantee, which states that if at any time the blown-in insulation in your home falls under the purchased R-Value, the Attics and More installation team will make an appointment to refill the attic to the purchased R-Value, at no charge. This certificate is transferable to any owner of the home listed at the address below, as long as the house is standing and has not been condemned by any city or municipality. If the level falls below the promised regional R-38, we will top it off at no cost to you.

Ventilate Your Attic

Ventilation in the attic is almost always thought of as a summertime concern. Our solar attic fans by Solaro Aire are sourced and manufactured in the USA, remove heat during the hot summer months, and remove moisture that can cause mold and mildew in the winter. It is this one, two, three punch that maximizes home comfort and energy savings.

The concept of the building envelope as it applies to the entire home itself is crucial. It is the separation of the interior and exterior of a building.  It helps facilitate climate control and protect the indoor environment. In older homes, the cost of energy when they were built was inexpensive, so the focus was not there for proper insulation, ventilation, and sealing. Even in newer homes, adequate insulation and ventilation are not appropriately done or are overlooked. It is in these independent components where you can recoup energy savings by having them inspected by a professional and then addressed accordingly.

Rooms Over an Attached Garage

Next, let us consider the situation with rooms that sit over an attached garage. These rooms tend to be ice cold in winter and too hot in summer. We address this problem by placing multi-layer insulation (eShield, our proprietary brand of radiant insulation) in the garage ceiling with the shiny surface facing the ground. In effect, this becomes the floor of the room above the garage. The radiant heat that is pulled from the MLI keeps the room toasty in winter and radiates the warmth away from the room in summer. The goal is to create an envelope (an envelope within the building envelope as outlined above) of hot or cool air depending upon the season, and it works. There is sometimes ductwork inside the garage that needs to be covered with insulation to keep the cold air or warm air where we want it to stay – inside the ductwork and at the right time of year.

Sound like a solid plan? That’s because it is. The Healthy Attic Plan, from A to Z, consists of eco-friendly products to seal, insulate, and ventilate your attic and garage where applicable, providing the most comfort and energy efficiency for your home. And don’t forget about those tax credits. The Federal Solar Tax Credit for our Solaro Aire solar fans is 26% for the year ending 2020, then dropping to 22% for 2021. New Jersey also has a capital improvement credit for insulation as well, where you can claim up to $500 on your taxes.

Your home is your most significant investment, and where you spend most of your downtime. Let Attics and More show it a little TLC, so wearing three cardigans in winter and dropping ice cubes down the back of your shirt to cool off in summer isn’t the norm anymore.

 

Every summer feels like it’s hotter than the last. Homeowners are constantly trying to find a balance between keeping their house cool while saving money on energy bills.

What many don’t realize is that one of the most prominent sources of stifling indoor heat is the attic. Hot air often collects in the uppermost area and transfers much of that heat to the bottom floors.

How do you combat this recurring problem? How do you remove hot air from your attic?

Those are the questions we’re going to answer today. In this article, we’ll go over just how hot air congregates in your attic, and outline ways to not only get rid of it but keep it out of your home for good.

Get a free attic inspection and quote to ventilate your attic.

Those are the questions we’re going to answer today. In this article, we’ll go over just how hot air congregates in your attic, and outline ways to not only get rid of it but keep it out of your home for good.

Why do attics get so hot?

The laws of thermodynamics dictate that heat naturally rises. That means your attic is the last stop for hot or warm air in your house. Not only that, your attic rests right under your roof. On hot summer days, the heat is going to radiate through the shingles and collect in your attic, creating hot air.

The biggest reason why hot air fills up in your attic is due to poor ventilation. It doesn’t matter if your house is old, new, newly renovated, or has remained untouched for a decade – chances are your attic ventilation needs some work.

One way to know if this might be the case is by going to your attic or rooftops and checking the size of your vents. Because vents are specifically for exhaust, they need to be appropriately sized relative to your attic. That is if you have a large attic, a couple of vents 6 inches wide probably aren’t going to do the trick.

Exhaust vents, however, don’t tell the entire story. Soffit vents, or intake vents that are placed underneath your roof, are responsible for pushing hot air out of your home while simultaneously bringing in cool air. While many homeowners aren’t even aware of its existence, they need proper maintenance to keep hot air out of your attic.

A lack of proper insulation and poor air sealing also contributes to why attics get so hot. Many assume that too much insulation means hot air will remain trapped in their attics. It’s important to note that attic insulation is an integral part of keeping your attic temperatures stable. If you don’t have proper insulation, you’ll have a hard time keeping your attic heat from seeping into the rest of your home.

Different methods for removing hot air from your attic

Removing hot air from your attic involves two different methods. One is a more active approach where you install electric ventilators and fans to remove hot air once it reaches a certain temperature. Another more passive approach involves installing vents and other openings that allow warm air to naturally escape.

Passive ventilation

Installing more vents and exhausts in your attic and roof is a good way of allowing hot air to circulate in and out of your attic naturally. While most housing code specifies the minimal amount of vent opening depending on your attic’s square footage, it’s never a bad idea to add more. Increasing the number of soffit vents and roof exhaust will allow hot air to pass through the attic without costing you any money from having to power a fan.

Active ventilation

If you do choose to install an active attic ventilation system like a solar attic fan to exhaust hot air, make sure you have enough incoming vents to accommodate the extra airflow. By pushing stuffy air out, you let cooler and fresher outside air in and improve the overall ventilation in your attic.

How to remove hot air from your attic

Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing when installing ventilation equipment in your attic. Here, we’ll outline what you’ll need for both passive and active ventilation installation, and how to install them.

Note: the below methods should be complete by a professional. Looking to cool your home? Get a free attic inspection and quote to properly ventilate your attic.

Add passive ventilation

When installing new vents in your attic and roof, you’re going to need a few important things before you start.

First, you need either your exhaust vent or soffit vent, as well as a ventilation baffle. Make sure you have a chalk reel or something to mark your roof with. You’ll also need a circular saw and reciprocating saw, as well as a sheathing knife. Some roof cement, a cordless drill, and a thin pry bar are also needed.

Install an exhaust vent

To install an exhaust vent, you first need to mark the vent location from inside your attic using nails. Then go to your roof, find the location that you marked with the nails, and measure your vent opening.

Cut out an appropriate opening in your roof shingle about ½ inch wider than the vent itself. Then, cut a hole in your roof sheathing with a jigsaw or reciprocating saw.

Remove any obstructions that might prevent the vent from sliding into place. Place the vent squarely into place and nail the lower edge with roofing nails.

Apply the roof cement where the shingles meet the vent and you’re done.

Install a soffit vent

Start by making two parallel lines down the center of the soffit using chalk, each one about 2 inches apart from the other. Cut a hole inside the soffit and measure the thickness of the panel.

Set your circular saw to that thickness and cut down the two parallel lines. Use your pry bar to connect the two parallel cuts and remove the soffit strip.

Then, set your strip vent down on a flat wood surface and screw holes through the flanges. Raise the vent up to the soffit and center it over the cutout slot. Use your cordless drill to secure the vent to the soffit using metal screws.

You’re not done yet though. Go back into the attic and remove any insulation above where the new soffit vents are. This will make sure nothing is blocking the vents and air can properly go through.

Finally, staple your ventilation baffle to the plywood sheathing in each rafter bay. This will ensure the airway remains open for your new soffit vent.

Add an attic fan

When installing a power vent, make sure all the factory-installed bolts are tightened and either mount it as close to the center of the house or near the roof ridge.

Measure the distance from the ridge and the edge of the roof to where you want your vent to go.

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking to add an attic fan to your home, consider going solar.

Transfer these dimensions to the attic’s interior. Measure an equal distance between the rafters at the selected location and mark the point. Drill a nail hole through the roof on the mark.

Cut out the circle template on the box and place it on the roof using the drilled hole as the center. Trace around the template and cut through the shingles and decking with a jigsaw.

Remove the vent’s dome.

Center the fan over the hole, making sure the upside of the base flange is pointed toward the ridge under the shingles.

Use caulk or roofing mastic to seal between the roof and fan. With a utility knife, cut the shingles at the top of the fan to accept the fan’s throat.

How to keep an attic cool

Homeowners can certainly reduce the amount of hot air in their attic by installing ventilation systems. They can also take certain steps to prevent hot air from entering their attic, as well as keeping any heat out of their homes as much as possible.

Proper air sealing

Identifying areas where air might be escaping into it can prevent unwanted warmth from entering your attic. Plumbing pipes and small openings for wires can be sealed with small pieces of fiberglass insulation or through expanding foam. You can also plug leaky areas with caulk.

Insulation

While some claim that insulation exacerbates heat gain in attics, as we mentioned before, it’s an effective mechanism to keep warm air out of the rest of your home while regulating the temperature inside the attic.

However, certain types of insulation, such as reflective insulation, are effective at keeping heat out of your home altogether. Reflective insulation does what its name suggests – it reflects incoming heat from the sun that’s radiating through your roof back where it came from.

By installing reflective insulation around your attic ceilings and walls, you effectively block much of the hot air coming into your attic. This is extremely effective during the summer, and if coupled with proper ventilation, can keep your attic exponentially cooler.

Get the hot air out of your attic today

A hot and stuffy attic is an often overlooked yet crucial factor when it comes to home energy efficiency. By keeping your attic’s ventilation flowing properly and taking preventative measures, you can keep hot air out of your attic. Leverage this article to find the best solution for your home and shave some money off of your energy bills today.

If you did not have the opportunity to see or purchase one of our amazing solar fans over the summer, now is not the time to exclude these marvels from your budget. They are effective in both summer and winter. Your attic needs to breathe. In the summer, the fans move the air from sun-up to sundown off the grid keeping the air moving and the temperature down, and in the winter, the fans circulate the accumulation of moisture that builds up in an attic from the kitchen and bathroom, preventing mold growth and other expensive issues.

We are getting close to the end of the tax year. The Federal Solar Tax Energy Credit now sits at 26%. For each subsequent year, that percentage drops.  While you are planning your budget for the end of 2020, you may want to invest in a reasonably priced, high quality product that allows you to reap benefits from both a cost and comfort perspective. Your home is your greatest asset. Why not show it some well-deserved love too?

Give us a call at 856-474-2400 or visit our web page where you can fill out a simple form requesting a free inspection of your attic. We can send one of our highly qualified Attic Specialists to your home with a fan in hand. You can take a look, ask questions, and our inspector will determine what type of attic fan will do the trick.  There is never any obligation and we love meeting our neighbors who live in the communities we all share.

The face of summer 2020 will undoubtedly be changed by the COVID-19 pandemic for most Americans. However, one thing won’t be affected – those scorching “dog days.”* And with climate change rampant, we can expect the annual average temperatures across the U.S. to continue the same increase we’ve observed over the last century. 

According to the Farmer’s Almanac

“For a large part of the United States, this summer is likely to be a scorcher! June will set the tone for the season, with above-normal temperatures in the northeastern quarter of the United States, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska.” 

“Heat will come in spurts in the first half of the summer season,” AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok adds. “But, as we get into July, it will start to dry out a little, and I think that’s when we’ll start to see the heat peak, with temperatures climbing into the 90s.” 

For homeowners, thoughts turn to AC units when it comes to keeping the home cool across such heat waves. However, the key to keeping cool this summer is actually right over your head. That’s right – although we often think of attic insulation as the gatekeeper when it comes to retaining warm air and keeping out freezing assaults, a properly sealed and insulated space plays a vital role in staying cool.  

Maintaining the proper level of insulation keeps sweltering, humid air from creeping inside. “The way thermodynamics work is heat flows from a hotter place to a cooler place,” Lauren Urbanek, a senior program advocate with the Center for Energy Efficiency Standards, Climate & Clean Energy Program, said in an NBC interview. “Not having insulation means heat is seeping into your house and your air conditioner is having to work a lot harder.” 

Multi-layer, reflective insulation can both stop heat transfer and resist it, curtailing radiant heat from entering your home during the summer and exiting during the winter. 

As we’ve noted before, if you suspect insulation issues, the first step is to examine your attic floor. Is the insulation level even with or below the top of your floor joists? Use a ruler to measure the depth of your insulation. You can then estimate what’s known as an R-value.  

From there, it’s often helpful to schedule an attic audit from an energy-savings professional. A home-energy analysis can save homeowners an average of 5 to 30% on monthly energy bills and can also uncover possible unsafe conditions in insulation, attics, walls or basements. 

Finally, a major, doggone culprit when it comes to letting those sweltering canines inside could be a lack of proper sealing. Hidden leaks in your home can account for significant air loss.  

As the U.S. Department of Energy notes: “Air leakage occurs when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. When it’s warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, resulting in poor indoor air quality. Air leakage also contributes to moisture problems that can affect occupants’ health and the structure’s durability.” 

Strategies for plugging up air leaks across your home include: 

  • Caulking and weatherstripping leaking doors and windows that leak air 
  • Caulking and sealing air leaks near where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring travel through walls, floors or ceilings. 
  • Installing foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls. 
  • Inspecting dirty spots in your insulation for air leaks and mold (sealing leaks with low-expansion spray foam and installing house flashing may be needed). 
  • Locating soiled spots on ceiling paint or carpet (possibly indicating air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists). 
  • Covering single-pane windows with storm windows. 
  • Installing more efficient double-pane low-emissivity windows.  
  • Injecting foam sealant on gaps around windows, baseboards and other leakage sources. 
  • Covering the kitchen exhaust fan to prevent air leaks when not in use. 
  • Replace inefficient door bottoms and thresholds with models that offer pliable sealing gaskets. 
  • Sealing leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk. 

In addition, your home could also benefit from solar-powered attic ventilation systems that not only improve comfort across all season but also protect your roof. During the dog days of summer, an attic can reach temperatures of 160°F or more. Solar-powered attic fans expel hot air, returning the attic’s space closer to the outside ambient temperature.  

As implied by the name, the fans operate entirely off solar energy, pulling the outside air in through existing static and soffit vents. By pulling from this external air source, the attic fan will extract the hot, humid air up through the fan and create a constant exchange of air in the attic. 

Contact us today to discuss how we can help shape up your attic for the coming “Dog Days Daze.” 

* Wondering why we call them the Dog Days of Summer? You may have heard of Sirius (the star, not the satellite-radio company). Dubbed the “Dog Star” by the ancient Greeks, the word Sirius means “searing” or “scorching” – a reference to its brightness in the night sky. During the hottest months of summer, Sirius is one of the most prominent stars in the sky – hence, dog days.  

The Greek poet Homer, writing in The Iliad, was no fan of these dog days either:  

Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky 

On summer nights, star of stars, 

Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest 

Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat 

And fevers to suffering humanity. 

 We wonder if a well-insulated and sealed attic may have changed Homer’s mind? Don’t wait for the melting heat to hit. Contact us as Attics and More and let us show you how we can help keep your home cool and your air conditioner working at maximum efficiency. 

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we commemorate the recent 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we can look back as a society and witness some solid victories in our quest for greater energy efficiency.

According to the Energy Efficiency Impact Report, investments in energy efficiency have significantly reduced spending on energy expenses over the past few decades.

The report notes:
“Without the energy efficiency investments made since 1980, energy consumption and emissions would have been 60 percent higher, and consumers would be paying nearly $800 billion more per year in energy costs. Efficiency’s benefits go beyond energy and cost savings, including a cleaner environment and improved public health.”

Within the average home, steps to energy efficiency can take many forms – from baby steps like switching to energy-efficient lighting to bigger steps such as sealing and insulating your attic. Of course, the bigger the step, the larger the savings.

Over the past two months of our shared “stuck-at-home” experience, it’s never been easier to take a look around our homes to see what steps can be taken to keep our nation on track for even greater savings and efficiency.

Take the LED
One of the simplest steps on the savings path is the replacement of inefficient lighting. From floor lamps to track lighting, your house should shine using LED technology. A light-emitting diode uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light.

LEDs use heat sinks to absorb the heat produced by illumination. The heat sink dissipates the heat into the surrounding environment, keeping the light from overheating and burning out.
Energy Star-certified LED bulbs last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Brightness is measured in lumens (light output) rather than watts (energy consumed). LED bulbs tend to be 6-7 times more energy-efficient than older incandescent bulbs. Studies show they may cut energy use by more than 80 percent. Taking a walk through your house to identify and replace inefficient lighting can save money down the road. They will cost more upfront, but the savings are well worth it.

According to a 2017 analysis by the Consumer Federation of America:
“Assuming an average $55 difference between the ten-year costs of LED bulbs and incandescent/halogen bulbs, a family may well save more than $1,000 by using LEDs during a ten-year period.”

“By using LED light bulbs, consumers not only save money, they also curb electricity use, potentially reducing the need for expensive new power plants,” said Mel Hall-Crawford, CFA’s Director of Energy Programs. “LED bulbs are a win-win-win for consumers, electric utilities, and the environment,” she added.

Tanks for the Savings
A “slightly-larger-than-baby” step you can take is to review the state of your water heater.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy: “Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of your home’s energy use. Reducing your hot water use, employing energy-saving strategies, and choosing an energy-efficient water heater for your home pool can help you reduce your monthly water heating bills.”
How old is your heater? If your water heater is more than ten years old, you may risk leaks or flooding. By upgrading to an EnergyStar-certified water heater, a family of four could save an estimated $3,500 over the appliance’s lifetime by heating water with a highly efficient heat pump. Also, many homeowners are going tankless. A tankless water heater – which heats water only when needed – can save a family of four more than $1,500 over its lifetime.
If you’re not ready to replace the whole water heater, you can realize baby-step savings by turning your water heater down. Most water-heater manufacturers set thermostats at 140⁰F by default. However, most houses will do just fine with the thermostat set to 120⁰F. Caution: Always shut off the electricity to the water heater before opening the heater’s panels to adjust the thermostat.

Energy Savings Above Your Head
What’s going on above your ceiling? If you rarely enter your attic (maybe to see if your prom dress still fits or if those old comic books are worth anything), you may be hemorrhaging dollars and cents if your attic space is drafty or improperly sealed.
You will often find some of your home’s most significant air leaks in the attic. This means higher energy bills and an inefficient home overall with hotter summers and icier winters.
If you’re ready to take an even larger and more cost-effective step in creating a super-efficient attic, now is the time to contact Attics and More for a complimentary home energy analysis by our qualified attic professional. We will make sure the attic is getting proper ventilation with natural airflow that keeps the roof deck cool and dry. This has the added benefit of extending the life of shingles and stopping ice dams. Finally, we can insulate your attic’s entry hatch using our Attic Gator. The Department of Energy offers tips on detecting air leaks and assessing ventilation needs.
While we are auditing your attic for leaks and ventilation issues, now would be a perfect time also to analyze your insulation needs. And, many homes can benefit from solar-powered attic ventilation systems. Attics and More utilizes solar power fans that have a lifetime warranty, can withstand hurricane force winds of 150 mph, and will work nonstop from sun-up to sundown. The necessary three actions we always reiterate for the most energy-efficient home are to seal, insulate, and ventilate.
For more steps you can take towards a more energy-efficient home (from baby to big kid), check out this exhaustive guide by the U.S. Department of Energy. Whether you decide to change a few light bulbs or launch an attic-renovation project, as Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Now is the time to stop and see what Attics and More can do for you with our safe green products and our flexible financing.