The hot dog days of summer have officially arrived; with temperatures well over 90 degrees, you can’t afford to mess with the sweltering heat.  Not only is the heat affecting your cooling bills and the comfort of your home, but it is also affecting your sleep. We have all spent nights tossing and turning from the heat, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

So why the heck is it so hot upstairs?

As the old saying goes, “heat rises.”  While this is true, there are other factors to consider.  If your HVAC unit is located on the first floor of your home, it pushes hot air out as cold air enters the home and is then distributed to the subsequent floors of your home.  Cool air is lost as it moves further away from the source so rooms that are the farthest away from your HVAC unit are cooled the least efficiently. Although this is an important reason why the top of your home is hot, it is not the only reason.

Types of Heat

There are three forms of heat: conduction, convection, and radiant heat.

1.) Conduction is the heat that physically transfers from the source to a target by direct contact. A good example of conduction is a pot of water on your stove. The burner transfers heat to the pot because they are touching.

2.) Convection is the transfer of heat by movement of liquid and gas. Convection current naturally rises and expands the air and decreases in density as the cool air increases in density and sinks. Convection, keeping with the pot of water on the stove example, is the transfer of heat from the pot to the stove that causes the hot water to move to the top of the pot and creates the “boiling” effect

3.) Radiant heat directly heats an object in an environment, not the air in between. Radiant heat is also the primary reason why the upstairs area in your home often feels warmer than it should during the summer because it moves in a downward motion.

It’s Getting Hot in Here

On a hot summer day, a dark shingle roof can regularly reach temperatures ranging from 140 to 150 degrees!  If your home contains cellulose or fiberglass insulation, it’s not a very useful for blocking radiant heat flow, meaning rays from the sunlight will make the attic areas much warmer.

As temperatures rise, your roof will get hotter. Heat will penetrate the surface area of your attic allowing it to pass through the ceiling into the upper levels of your home. The warmer air that occupies the upper levels of your home makes it almost impossible to sleep comfortably at night.

The combination of spray foam insulation and a radiant heat barrier provides an extra layer of protection for your home and reduces the potential of heat flow from occurring. Spray foam prevents direct heat flow from the roof to the ceiling, and proper ventilation pushes away the steamy attic air.

Spray foam provides the following advantages during the summer months:

  1. Increased R-values per square inch makes it cooler in the attic area, and therefore the rest of your home, during the long summer months.
  2. Spray foam also reduces the temperature between the home and attic space.
  3. If you are considering placing duct work in your attic, spray foam insulation also helps improve your heating and cooling system’s performance.

Additional Possibilities

  • Broken, kinked, or sagging ductwork may cause fatigue and leaky air.
  • Attic Ventilation – improper attic ventilation expels heat out of the attic, which contributes to infiltrated air entering the home.

Everybody’s an Expert

Anyone you talk to about this issue will have their own opinions, and we have heard them all. Friends, neighbors and other industry experts have their own solutions. At the end of the day, it is up to you to make the first steps in assuring greater comfort in your home as well as monthly savings on your energy bills.

We suggest that you schedule a home energy assessment to determine which options are best suited for your needs before determining which course of action to take.


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