Your attic may be the last space in your home that you ever think of, but it may be increasing your heating and cooling bills while also speeding the breakdown of your roof. While you may not notice the deterioration of roofing materials and the extra money you’re paying to control temperatures in your home throughout the year, the cost of ongoing roof repairs as well as the accumulation of unnecessarily high utility bill payments can add up to a substantial sum. Here how your attic does it.
- Raising the cost of climate control in the home – An attic that does not have insulation and proper venting can keep your heating and cooling systems working overtime. In the summer, direct sunlight warms the roof, which radiates heat into the attic. As the attic warms up, heat is then radiated into the interior of the home, forcing air conditioning to work harder and longer to maintain preset temperatures. In the winter, warm air the home moves upward through the ceiling and then through the roof. This keeps the heater running constantly to replace lost heat.
- In the winter – In areas with snow accumulations, warm air escaping through the roof melts the snow above it, which runs down the roof to the eaves. With an open underside, the eaves will be much colder than the rest of the roof and can refreeze the runoff. If enough refreezing occurs over time, an ice dam can be built that starts trapping runoff, backing it up under the shingles. This can start a process that weakens adhesives and damages the underlayment, with the result being leaks into the house or attic.
- In the summer – An uninsulated and unventilated attic can reach temperatures exceeding 160 degrees. In addition to placing demands on the cooling system, heat at this level can bake the components of the roofing system from the underside. The results can include the softening of adhesives and drying roofing materials until they turn brittle. The constant exposure to extreme temperatures can lead to a premature breakdown of the roofing system, which may require repairs or a full replacement well before the roof would otherwise reach the end of its estimated service life.
While it may be a neglected space, your attic may be costing your household over $400 per year by placing extra demand on your heating and cooling systems. In fact, according to ENERGY STAR an uninsulated attic can increase energy bills by approximately 67 percent versus a space that has been fully insulated to local standards. For a family paying the national average of about $1,000 per year for heating and cooling, that translates to utility bills that are $422 higher than a comparable home with a fully insulated attic. Insulating this space can also save money by reducing damage caused by heat exposure to the roof while also extending its service life.