When it comes to insulating against extreme heat getting into your home, you can trust me. I’m an expert. Not an expert on insulation, necessarily, but an expert on extreme heat getting into the house. I live in a region where short sleeves are necessary attire for Christmas Day enjoyment and where winter is not so much a season as it is a week. I’m not talking that dry heat, either. I’m talking hot, sticky, muggy, sultry, unbearably hot weather 350 days of the year. So when I say that these tips will help control the heat and keep down the power bill, you can trust that these are not the words of someone who done their homework over a book. I’ve lived this stuff, man!
Hedge clippers are an invaluable tool for making sure that you don’t waste money and that you keep a cooler house. Those big, thick rolls of insulation need to be as taut, tight and snugly fit inside the attic as possible to keep out every last remaining ounce of high heat. The tighter the fit, the more efficient the insulation. Problem is, most homes are not built specifically for those rolls to fit as snugly as they could. You will have to do some cutting and maneuvering to get insulation to fit most effectively. You may think that scissors or an Exact-o blade will get this job done. Boy, are you wrong! The most effective way to cut those big blankets of home insulation in order to like a Tetris piece properly placed is to use a pair of sharp hedge clippers or, if you don’t have those, even tree trimmers will do. Anything else is just going to result in uneven cuts and lines that tear off or smash up when you try to put the insulation into place.
Here is why you must take great pains to ensure proper fitting of insulation. The R-Value is a number that is applied to give an indication of how effectively the insulation resists the flow of heat through it. Sounds simple enough: you get the R-Value recommended for your climate conditions and you are set. Well, not so much. You may have bought the absolute perfect insulation relative to its R-Value, but if the insulation is not installed correctly, you may only be getting the R-Value appropriate for a house in Colorado. Trust me: that’s not going to cut it in Dixie.
Doors and Windows
When it comes to keep the heat out and the cool in, you need to think outside the attic. Much of that precious cool air generated by the single greatest invention known to humankind-the air conditioner-gets lost through the windows and the doors to the outside. If you don’t have weather stripping around every single door and window that leads to the outdoors, you are not going to be able to take advantage of all that perfectly placed insulation that provides you with the most effective R-Value rating. You may be keeping the hot from permeating the house, but you will also be allowing the cool to escape. The result is higher power bills and the necessity for keeping the air condition running longer and at a lower temperature than need be.