Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beat the Heat!

Loose-fill insulation only limits convection, or the transfer of warm air energy to cold air.  This insulation still absorbs radiant heat from rooftops and transfers that heat to other solid surfaces such as air ducts, or the attic floor, and eventually causes an increase in air temperature in your living space as the energy travels further down into your home.

Radiant barriers, originally developed by NASA, are available for purchase at most home improvement stores, and can be installed over your loose-fill insulation to combat this heat transfer, and help you save money on your cooling costs.  Radiant barriers are most cost effective in warmer climates because homes in these areas endure longer summer seasons.

But, even in Wisconsin, over a little longer period of time, the cost of purchasing and installing radiant barriers can be made up by the savings on energy consumption.  You could also try installing more than just the minimum recommended level of loose-fill insulation, as this is a cheaper, but not quite as effective option of limiting radiant heat transfer.

There are also other, lower cost options you can try to help keep your energy bill low:
  • Effective use of reflective, white, or light color backed drapes reflect sunlight and can keep your home or business cooler during the day.
  • According to the EPA, setting your thermostat higher when nobody in your family is expected to be home can save about $180 per year.
  • Routinely checking the air filter on your air conditioning unit and replacing or cleaning dirty filters.  This helps ensure that your cooling unit is not working harder than it needs to.
  • Raising your thermostat 2 degrees, and turning on your ceiling fan when you enter a room.  You must also remember to turn the ceiling fan off when you exit as it only serves to cool you and not the actual air temperature.
  • Sealing your air ducts.  As much as 20% of the air moving through your home or business’s duct system is lost due to leaks and poor connections. (EPA)
Click here for more information about radiant barriers.