Remodeling an Attic
Keeping Cool This Summer
I am very interested in knowing what is a "bad" temperature for my attic. What should be the difference between outside/inside temperature of an attic on a summer day versus a winter day? Should there be a difference between a 78-degree day and a 98-degree day?
I have recently added a ridge vent to my roof and have also been taking temperature readings. I hit 130 degrees in my attic when the outside temperature was 83 degrees. Is this good? What's good? Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
JB from Brown Deer, WI
I wouldn't get too obsessed over the temperature readings. Colder is better, but 130 degrees is not really that hot in that typical roofing materials can stand much higher temperatures. According to the Building Science Corporation at www.buildingscience.com, a Boston-based architecture and building science consulting firm, the maximum acceptable temperature of an enclosed attic space near the sheathing is about 180 degrees. They have done much of their testing in Las Vegas and Phoenix, where conditions are the worst, and 150-degree attic temperatures are common.
It's also been found that roofing design and materials have more effect on attic temperature than ventilation. Metal roofs reflect more heat than asphalt roofs, lowering temperatures, and lighter colored asphalt also lowers attic temperatures. Ventilation is important to give moisture within the attic a way to escape. Though most newer homes have extensive vapor barriers to keep living space moisture from getting into the attic, leakage around recessed light fixtures and bathroom vents still allow some moisture to enter the attic. This is not very destructive in the hot seasons, but can cause problems during winter freeze-thaw cycles when this moisture condenses on nails and other metal structures within the attic space.
For most homes, the biggest concern is the effect of attic temperature on living space comfort. The consensus seems to be that if you have the maximum amount of insulation in your attic floor (for your area), lowering the temperature of the attic by 10 or even 20 degrees will have a minimal if any impact of actual heating and cooling costs.
Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here naturalhandyman.com/aitikia. For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links naturalhandyman.com. If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page naturalhandyman.com/friends.
The Natural Handyman Site Directory
- Home Repair Articles naturalhandyman.com/iip
- Home Repair Links Library naturalhandyman.com/linkslibrary
- NH's Bookshop naturalhandyman.com/bookshop
- Find a handyman at naturalhandyman.com/network
- Win unique home repair gifts and prizes at naturalhandyman.com/contest. Please read the important copyright and disclaimer information is located at naturalhandyman.com/copyright
Also in Home
- How to build a contemporary outdoor fireplace
- Finding an affordable safe handyman
- Tips for taking in a renter
- How little things can make your décor pop
- Building a winter green house
- A natural approach to eliminating pet odors
- Cost-effective solutions to rid your home of black snakes
- 5 ways your house can make you go broke
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- Does staging really raise a home's price?
- 5 home renovation can raise your insurance rate -- or lead to discounts
- The right way and wrong way to pay down your mortgage
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 3 ways (and 1 reason) to refinance a HELOC
- 6 home projects that don't pay for themselves
- Should I refinance my home equity line?
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?