Late summer in Minneapolis gets awfully steamy. It can be hard to keep your house at a comfortable temperature, even with an excellent air conditioning system. But if your home insulation isn’t up to par, it’s even more difficult to keep your house cool.
Many people think insulation is just for keeping your house warm in the winter. In fact, insulation helps maintain temperatures year round. Insulation prevents energy—warm or cool—from leaking out of (or into) your house. Without insulation, up to half the energy you use to keep your home at a comfortable temperature would leak out! All that wasted energy means higher energy bills as you crank the AC to compensate. Proper insulation is an important element of home energy efficiency and cost-effective home cooling.
Heat Transfer & The Attic Problem
Heat transfer is the process of energy (in the form of heat) being exchanged and dispersed throughout a system or environment until it reaches an equilibrium. You don’t have to be a scientist to have witnessed this process—you experience it every day. Each time your coffee goes cold on your desk at work or your cold summer drink develops water droplets on the side and the ice melts to room temperature, you’re witnessing heat transfer in action.
You also experience it in your house. Unfinished attics reach sweltering temperatures on hot summer days. Without adequate insulation, this heat will leak (or “transfer”) into the rest of your house, raising the overall temperature and sabotaging your air conditioner’s efforts to keep the rooms cool.
A poorly insulated attic will also absorb more heat in the first place, because common building materials like wood and drywall soak up heat like a sponge. Without sufficient insulation to offset the heat transfer, this absorbed heat will radiate into your home.
Insulation serves a dual purpose in the summer: minimizing the transfer of outdoor heat into the home, and minimizing the transfer of attic heat into the rest of your house. If insulation is a problem in your house, you’ve probably noticed your energy bills sky-rocketing in the summer as your AC fights to combat the effects of attic heat transfer.
We recommend hiring a trusted HVAC professional to perform an energy audit of your home. They will be able to determine whether insufficient insulation is the source of your cooling problems—but more importantly, they have the expertise to identify other potential causes if necessary. Adding insulation will improve your home energy efficiency, but it’s important to be aware of other potential issues with your heating and cooling systems.
If your home does need more extensive insulation, an HVAC expert will also be able to provide professional installation services for hard-to-access areas of your home, such as cramped attics or crawlspaces.