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Dire Wolf
Houston Astros Fan
bawcomville
Member since Sep 2008
30453 posts

attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
i got an older house and last fall lost the tree that gave it the most shade.

This summer it has been brutally hot, struggling to keep it in the low 70s at night without murdering my wallet.

Figure I got to inspect for air leaks and do all that. Going to rent a insulation blower after

Just wondering if Attic fans or radiant barriers worth doing as well. I plan on doing all this myself.


NASA_ISS_Tiger
LSU Fan
Huntsville, Al via Sulphur, LA
Member since Sep 2005
7561 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Not that I support it or am against it (slightly against since it can turn a home into a Faraday cage)...but what do people in La think about radiant barriers installed in your attic to reflect the radiant heat energy? Are they used much?

Reason I don't like them is because I'm a ham radio operator and my antenna is in my attic and radiant barrier block my transmissions.


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02
gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
9158 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Several years ago I had insulation blown into my attic and it made a big difference since I also live in an older home with 10 1/2 ft. ceilings, plaster and lath walls and absolutely no insulation in the walls. I also have large double hung wooden windows with single glass panes, so no energy efficiency there either.

I was planning on laying in batt insulation, but the cost and having to do it myself was more than having someone come in and blow it in during one afternoon.

I also added 2 large turbines on my roof since I have a couple scuttles on my back porch that are screened in and lead into the attic.

Adding power vents or turbines will do no good unless you are able to draw outside air through soffit vents or some type scuttle to have it circulate.


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Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
31506 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Radiant barriers work. I installed the barrier in an old house and afterwords was able to spend 2 or 3 hours at a time up there rewiring the electrical in July. I replaced the knob & tube wiring with romex so I could blow insulation on top of the wiring. I blew in 8" of cellulose and need to add another 6" but it's a lot better now than when I bought the place.
This post was edited on 7/20 at 3:30 pm


Thecoz
Member since Dec 2018
1321 posts
 Online 

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Just had some blown fiberglass put in some small condos … I think it is helping… topped it off… probably r 50 plus up there…also put in attic tents over the stairs and surrounded it with more roll insulation and draped it over as I zipped it up and came out of attic…you can really feel the difference at the stairs with the attic tent…saw that trick on here from some op and got them off the internet.


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CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3213 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Sealing attic leak penetrations to the conditioned/living area below and adding attic insulation are certainly big steps that can have good payoff and improve home comfort. Tremendous amount great educational information and videos on the internet to help you along.

Being an older house, does your attic have any passive ventilation at all - for example ridge vents, turbine ventilators, etc? If not, I think that might be your top priority.

Radiant barriers can lower attic temperatures during peak summer temperatures as much as 15 to 25 F and I think would do great deal in improving home comfort however, studies show the payback on them really not that good and it seems some home energy specialists are not big fans of radiant barriers - maybe b/c of the poor payback. But if it improves home comfort …. I need to do some additional homework on this topic as I am considering it myself.


Jack Daniel
LSU Fan
In the bottle
Member since Feb 2013
19782 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Spray foam the rafters


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40
Dire Wolf
Houston Astros Fan
bawcomville
Member since Sep 2008
30453 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
quote:

ridge vents, turbine ventilators,


Has ridge vents but no turbine

I am focusing on things on can do myself right now
This post was edited on 7/20 at 4:06 pm


knight4
LSU Fan
BR
Member since Sep 2016
7 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
A turbine or two, even if not powered type, would be a benefit. Blown in insulation lowered my electric bill by about 30% in older house. Seems like I've heard that radiant barriers can shorten the life of your shingles, as it makes the roof much hotter.


trident
Tennessee Fan
Member since Jul 2007
4267 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Whirly birds will make a big difference. I had the old ridge vents that weren’t to good. Added 4 whirly birds and it has make a huge difference in house temp


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USA
Member since 2001
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dakarx
Member since Sep 2018
3009 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
This winter I removed all the blown in insulation and had open cell foam sprayed in. Made a tremendous difference. Before, the temps would get over 140 in the summer and humidity would always be high.

Here is a snapshot of the last 24 hours (temp, humidity, and pressure are recorded automatically every 5 mins or so)




it's rained pretty much every day for the last month


ds_engineer
Mississippi St. Fan
South Mississippi
Member since Dec 2014
145 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
quote:

Attic fans or radiant barriers worth doing as well


I've got both. There is an old thermostat controlled gable vent fan in my attic. It was running non-stop in the summer months. I had a radiant barrier installed early this year. The radiant barrier made a huge difference in my attic and interior temperatures. The gable vent fan rarely turns on now as the attic temps stay around 80-degrees. I highly recommend the radiant barrier.


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Cotten
LSU Fan
Memphis
Member since Jan 2018
904 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
For those suggesting radiant barriers...we live in a home built in 1904 that had a second story addition about 10 years ago. The second story is setup with kneewalls on 2 sides.

Should the insulation be on the kneewall or the attic roof side? Additionally, if the kneewall side is insulated should I tack the radiant barrier to the roof rafters against the roof?


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CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3213 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
quote:

Seems like I've heard that radiant barriers can shorten the life of your shingles, as it makes the roof much hotter.

Though it is true radiant barriers do slightly increase roof single temperature there is a fairly in-depth research study in Florida that showed it does not shorten shingle life, and I’m of the understanding major shingle manufacturers agree with this. I’ve read the report, published by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as recall, if I can find the report I’ll link it.


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CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3213 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
quote:

Has ridge vents but no turbine

That’s good - I suppose the next thing to verify is that you have sufficient ridge vent area and soffit intake vents (and that the soffit vents aren’t covered by insulation. Attic Venting Calculator

And should at some point consider a powered attic ventilator I suggest you read this first. LINK

Nice little publication to help you get started with your roof sealing and insulation project(s). LINK


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CrawDude
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2019
3213 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
quote:

dakarx

You mind sharing cost to have the open cell foam blown in, just cost per square foot of roof area, and who did it for you? TIA


dakarx
Member since Sep 2018
3009 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
I had Diversified Energy come in to do the work. It was $3200 for the insulation. I think the total coverage was about 2000 sq feet, 2 story house and the roof has all sorts of goofy angles.

We opted to remove the existing blown in insulation ourselves using a big harbor freight dust collector system (I wanted one for my sawdust making shop) that was like $250 or so. Saved about $500 and I got a new toy. Removal time was probably 8-12 hours, the wife stayed downstairs changing collection bags and I vacuumed every scrap of the 6-8" of insulation. 2 truck loads to the landfill since I couldn't find anyone that wanted to re-purpose it at the time.

This post was edited on 7/21 at 2:38 pm


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20
Cracker
Montana Fan
in a box
Member since Nov 2009
13177 posts

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Insulate and condition the space reduce the heat load


DukeSilver
Houston Astros Fan
Member since Jan 2014
1965 posts
 Online 

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
Anyone had this done recently in the Houston area, or any area really, by a company that can tell me a ballpark price per square foot on air sealing/blowing in cellulose?


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AndyCBR
USA Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Nov 2012
5055 posts
 Online 

re: attic insulation and cooling improvement tips
If your air handler is in the attic make sure to seal up the box with foil tape at all the seams especially at the service access panel door.

The boxes are notoriously leaky and when the attic is 130 degrees F and you are sucking in that air past the return plenum your unit can run forever and not keep up.


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