If a ridiculous amount of heat prevents you from enjoying your attic or may cause damage soon, there are solutions available. Whether you’re struggling with a scorching summer or you live in an area where it’s hot all year round, it’s probably safe to say it’s time to learn how to cool an attic if you’re here.
Keeping an attic cool can be incredibly easy if you use the right tools, but where do you start? Continue reading below to discover 11 easy hot attic solutions.
What's In This Article
1. Consider Adding a Solar Attic Fan: Our Best Way to Keep Attics Cool
If you Google “best way to keep attic cool,” Solar attic fans are likely to be a top recommendation. With a solar attic fan, you can take your worst enemy in this situation (the sun) and have it work for you (1).
We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy – sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy.
That said, installing a solar attic fan allows you to harness the sun’s energy to remove hot air from the room, allowing cooler air to flow in from the outside. If you’re not quite sure if they’re right for you, you can check out their main pros and cons here.
2. Improve the Insulation
One essential step in learning how to cool an attic is figuring out how to keep cool air in.
When choosing attic insulation, you want to consider the material, the density, and the thickness.
You can start with insulation. Attics have insulation because they typically work as a giant shield against weather extremes for your home’s interior. Having the proper insulation will keep your attic cooler and reduce your energy costs.
3. Radiant Barriers
The use of a radiant barrier or multiple radiant barriers are common ways to help keep attics cool and prevent radiant heat from forming in your home. The barriers contain reflective material that inhibits the electromagnetic transfer of heat.
In short, radiant barriers reflect sunlight out of your attic so that the sun’s powerful rays don’t turn it into an oven. Most companies use aluminum foil for their radiant barriers, but you can also find other more durable materials as well.
4. Upgrade the Ventilation
Adding ventilation to a hot attic is one of the most effective ways to keep it cool since it allows heat to escape on hot days. If you don’t have a ventilation system, hot air and radiant heat can fester within your attic and lead to wood rot, mold, and other critical damages over time. There are numerous ways you can add ventilation to your attic, and some are relatively inexpensive.
5. Try the “Texas Cool” Technique
The “Texas Cool” technique is an energy-efficient method that not only keeps your attic cool but other rooms in the house as well. At night, when the weather drops, open up the window and place a fan to blow the cold air inside. When the sun comes up, close the window and use a shade to block any sunlight from getting in.
6. Sun Blockers
A significant amount of sunlight gets into the attic through the windows. You can use curtains or blinds to block the windows, keeping your attic cooler, and more energy-efficient during the daytime. Curtains and blinds are relatively cheap and easy to install.
7. Close Off Any Leaks
Air leaks are a leading cause of losing nice cool air and wasted energy. Take a flashlight and try to spot any air leaks in your attic that might let cold air escape.
Here’s where you’re likely to find air leaks:
You will air leaks at the attic hatch, windows/doors, wiring holes, and plumbing vents.
Once you find a hole, you can get expanding foam to fill them. This is how to remove hot air from the attic and other rooms long-term.
8. Use a Zoned Thermostat
Using a zoned thermostat can allow you to control your attic’s duct system individually, according to set temperatures. Using an individual system is far more convenient for keeping your attic space cool, mainly if you use it as a living space. In some cases, you can even get a zoned thermostat like Google’s Nest Thermostat for free to help keep your attic cooler.
9. Use a Portable AC Unit
If creating new ductwork in your attic isn’t a viable option, you can always go with a portable air conditioning unit. One excellent aspect of mobile AC units is that they come in several shapes and sizes. Therefore, you can find one suitable for your space.
10. Examine the Roof
The roof is the first line of defense against the sun. If you feel that your roof is letting in too much heat, you can consider investing in reflective shingles to deter some of the sun’s rays away from your attic.
11. Oscillating Fans
Oscillating fans do a great job of keeping your attic space cool since you can buy as many as you want (2).
Oscillating fans provide better cooling because they rotate, thereby allowing better air flow around the room. The air in the room is moved around, as compared to stationary fans that only move the air straight ahead.
This works great to target hot areas in the attic, that isn’t just exclusive to one spot.
Why Is My Attic So Hot?
The reason why your attic is hot is that attics sit just below the roof, so they are the first room to get hit with the sun’s heat. Your attic space could also be too hot because you don’t have proper ventilation and hot air rises from the floors below.
Does Cooling the Attic Help?
Yes, cooling an attic helps mainly in three areas. Cooling a hot attic can help you feel more comfortable during the summer months during use, help protect your home’s structure from future damages, and increase your home’s overall energy efficiency.
How Long Should You Run an Attic Fan?
In general, you should run an attic fan as little as possible to be the most energy-efficient. Some hot attics may require a fan for several hours, where others only need 15 minutes. For further insight, you can read our guide “How do attic fans work?” to get a more accurate estimate.
- Thomas A. Edison Quotes. Retrieved from: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/69333-we-are-like-tenant-farmers-chopping-down-the-fence-around
- Add an Oscillating Fan to a Room: 8 Advantages. Retrieved from: https://www.doityourself.com/stry/add-an-oscillating-fan-to-a-room-8-advantages