Is Your Hot Attic Killing Your AC?

In Texas, your hot attic can hit 140°F which can reduce your air conditioner's efficiency. Find out ways you can improve it!

Will Your Hot Attic Burn Up Your AC?

Is your hot attic making your Ac system run longer? Find out how Texas building practices can drive up your home's electric bill.
Texas home builders have put HVAC systems for decades. But high summer heat can reduce their efficiency and cost you more. Find out why and what you can do to save money!

Sometimes home designs make you stand back and scratch your head. For years, Texas home builders followed the annoying building practice of putting all the air handling equipment in the attic. Up there, your bulky HVAC equipment is out of sight and out of mind. But during hot summers, your attic can reach 145°F or more. Yet somehow, you expect it to cool your home while operating in a sweltering environment. So let’s look at how your hot attic maybe killing your AC and driving up your Texas electric bill.

Efficiency and Your Hot Attic Ductwork

Even if your home’s HVAC is in a closet, you may still have ductwork running through your hot attic. That’s bad, too. The problem is once your system cools the air, it passes through your attic ductwork. So your system has to run longer to keep up. 

According to Energy Vanguard, moving ductwork from the attic to living space reduces required AC capacity by 24%. On top of that, cooling usage goes down by 17%. And peak cooling demand drops by 22%. HomeAdvisor estimates the ductwork replacement cost at $10 to $20 per linear foot. Rerouting ductwork can be an expensive proposition, so you’ll have to decide for yourself if doing so is worth it. 

Another option is to insulate your ductwork. pegs ductwork insulation cost at $1.15 to $5.50 per square foot. But notice the difference in pricing: linear foot versus square foot. You’ll need to do some geometry homework on your ducts to see which one is the better deal for your home.  

Radiant Barrier

You can cool your attic significantly by installing a radiant barrier. This foil and plastic sheeting product is attached to the underside of your roof decking. The foil reflects radiant energy (infrared heat) back through the roof decking. An addition effect is that the air heated between the roof and the barrier rises and escapes through your roof’s ridge vent while pulling in cooler air from the soffit vents below.

You won’t want to hang out in the attic for extended periods of time. However, your attic will be much cooler than before installing the radiant barrier. You’ll easily see a 40% difference in your attic’s temperature. And running your HVAC in 87 degrees beats running it in 145 degrees. 

HomeGuide puts the cost of a radiant barrier at $0.30 to $2.00 per square foot. Beware if a contractor wants to put the barrier on the top side of your ceiling. This is cheaper, but it does nothing for your air handler. It may also trap moisture in your home if applied directly over insulation. So make sure your contractor quotes you a price to install the radiant barrier on the underside of the roof decking. 

Power Your AC All Summer

Putting HVAC equipment in your hot attic is pretty dumb. It’s almost as dumb as not shopping for Texas power plans. Find out how you can save more on your monthly bills with clear information and low prices.  

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