DIY Instant Attic Cool Down 3-Steps
As we all know, Central Texas summers come with some serious summer heat! And during this time, do we begin to notice a dramatic change in our energy bills. This is when we start making changes to save energy, which in turn, leads us to save money!
Instinctively, we consider replacing our air conditioner, attic insulation, windows and/or doors, all with the best and most energy-efficient items, with hopes of saving money for the long run. While all these are all great, and really do help improve your home’s comfortability, these are not our only options. With all the advertising (i.e. radio, TV commercials, billboards), and millions of dollars that are spent on marketing for home improvement items, we are led to believe that these are the only, and best ways, of getting our homes where we want them to be. Even spending a small fortune at times!
But what about attic ventilation? It seems as if everyone forgets about this small, but very important, detail. I mean, it’s not like your roof is at the forefront of what mother nature has to throw? Where does the scorching summer heat hit first?
What if I not only told you but also showed you, step by step of what you can do in a few hours to help save energy and money along the way? Would you listen if I gave you some free simple, do it yourself, how-to guidance which will be little to no cost to you? If so, then keep reading because you are in for quite a treat!
June 1, 2019:
We asked a customer to send us data from her energy bill after getting her new roof installed by Aurum Roofing, compared to before. This image reflects the energy savings our customer received after installing her new roof.
“Here’s the 1st decent spread of last year far left and this year far right. 743 KWH in 2018. 588 this year. Saved $16 this year in May bill compared to last year… now that I have this awesome roof”.
Although $16 in savings for one month may not seem like a lot, imagine adding that up from May through about September, for multiple years. Only then will you see how much money you’re actually saving!
AURUM ROOFING: “We put our money where our mouth is.”
Before we get started, you have to understand heat and how it moves naturally, traveling up! Think of the hot coffee cup that may be sitting in front of you now. Do you see the heat and where it’s going? You got it, up! A hot air balloon travels up with what? Hot Air! With this in mind, think about how our houses are most commonly built. A squared box with a triangle, also known as an attic, on top of it. I like to think of the attic as a sauna on steroids, especially during the summer months. A sauna, in my definition, is a room filled with non-moving, hot air. If we open the door slightly and get the hot air moving, it is more than likely going to want to move up and out; therefore it will no longer be a sauna, but just a room. Let’s get to the moving air then and let me show you how you can do this.
The image that you are seeing here is your typical attic and its most common form of a ventilation system. Notice how we are so focused on the TOP. We use ridge ventilation, mushroom exhaust, whirlybirds vents, powered mushroom attic vents, etc. and more than likely, you might have one of these too. But what about the bottom? Would you breathe in through a straw but blow out through a barrel? It just doesn’t work that way! Let’s reverse this and use a barrel with a barrel to breathe.
Try this out: If you’re home, or you’re comfortable leaving your garage door open just enough to let your cat in and out, leave it open. While you’re there, open your attic door too. Most houses here in the Pflugerville/ Austin Metro Area have their attic access doors in the garage anyway so let’s leave these two doors open. Your garage door only takes up about a third to half of your home’s front wall anyway. Right? That’s huge! Let’s take full advantage and welcome in this fresh cool natural air into our home. This will start our air movement process. If you don’t believe this I challenge you to try this: Open the 2 doors and sit or stand near your attic entry. Almost instantly, you will notice the draw of cool air that is naturally moving towards you which in turn finds its way to the top and out.
Try this out: Now, Let’s go into your attic. Look to see if your soffit area is filled and covered with insulation. Like the picture below. Don’t you think this area should be a clear space for air flow around? Yes, it should! What use are the soffit vents for than anyway? Well, let me be blunt. You’ll get no use from your soffit vents at all this way!
The reason behind this? Builders simply choose not to pay attention to this. Truthfully, it’s a lot easier and faster to have someone fill the attic up with insulation when builders have a deadline to meet and hundreds of houses to be built. Every single home that I have worked on has the same thing. Overblown insulation in the soffit areas! Older homes, before blow insulation was around, didn’t have this problem because builders used to use Batten Insulation. In case you’re not familiar with Batten Insulation, this type of insulation comes in rectangular blocks and each block was installed 1 at a time, which meant it had to be done right. Slower and more carefully. But now, since blow insulation takes less time and is more convenient for builders, everyone is using this instead. I feel as if everyone is going spray crazy! I mean let’s face it, putting insulation, little by little, the right way, is harder manual labor in a room that feels like a sauna and who wants to be in a sauna for more than an hour? Builders definitely don’t. Give them 5 minutes and they’re done. The attic on that newly built home is covered with soffits and sort of forgotten about. Because no one cares. Right? Well, we as consumers should care. We’re the ones that are going to be left with paying our high energy bills caused by our builder’s neglect or maybe even laziness.
Well, you’re probably asking. “We’ve already bought this house. Now is there anything I can do to help this?”
Grab your leaf rake (Yes the rake). Go into your attic and get as close to your soffit areas as possible. Use your rake to push back the insulation, away from your unused soffits. Give them a purpose. Push them back enough to see daylight. Remove those long rectangular styrofoam boards (they may be used to allow air in. They don’t work anyways. Waste of styrofoam). If daylight is getting in, more than likely, air is going to get in too. And if for some reason you’re not able to do this, give us a call and we’d be more than happy to assist you with this. And by the way, we offer this service free with all full roof installs. If your home is less than 1500 sq. ft, it’s only $100.00 for this service.
Want faster results? This is where our Aurum Roofing’s speeded process comes into play.
Next time you see a new subdivision, pay close attention to their roofs. Notice those smaller squared vents, about 3-4 ft. off the bottom edge of the roof? Those are better known as Roof Eaves and they’re scattered about every 10-15 ft. on the roof. These vents are called 750’s slant back vents and have an opened circular 10” hole. They’re either made of plastic or metal with dimensions of about 12”x14”. Builders are finally starting to pick up on this. They’ve finally realized the importance of airflow and how something as simple as installing air vents on the lower part of the roof, can prevent them from having to crawl into the attic.
Quick fact: We at Aurum Roofing have already been doing this for years! We like to think of ourselves as trendsetters in this “new evolution”.
The way we like to explain this is by our “barrel with barrel concept”. Here’s a quick example. If at all possible, grab a small paper bag that you may have laying around. Put it up to your mouth and take a deep breath in. What happened? It moved towards your face, almost into your mouth.
Now, using the same bag, I want you to cut a hole on the end of the bag as big as the size of your mouth and take one more deep breath and blow in. What happened now? Nothing. Did the bag move? More than likely, no. And the reason why is because you have an opening that allows for an air draw. Make sense? What you are doing now is getting rid of your useless up-stairs sauna and actually creating an outside air temperature room good for storage, a man cave, she-shed, etc. The possibilities are endless!
These 750’s slant back metal/plastic vents range from about $10- $16 at your local home improvement stores and not only that, here is a “how-to install slant back roof vents” from our YouTube Channel. This shows you step by step instructions so you can do it yourself at little to no cost! If you need help with this project, always give us a call and one of our highly trained roofers will be happy to assist you with this. *All metal intake vent installs start at $149.99 per vent (labor and roofing materials included). Price is only valid for asphalt roofs.