Due to their nature, attics are prone to overheating, even in the UK! Heat rises to the top of the house and gets trapped under the roof. Roof windows also mean plenty of sun throughout the day. All this can cause an uncomfortable attic temperature, especially during hotter months. It is therefore important to know how to cool an attic room, especially if you have an attic bedroom that you sleep in or use as a study for work.
Dakea have brought together both preventative tips and tips to cool down a hot attic room.
It is important to understand why attics get hot before you can best understand how to cool them.
In the attic there is often no insulation from the exterior part of the roof and no drywall on the framing, unlike the rest of the house. When it’s hot outside, this allows much more heat gain from the external environment.
The laws of thermodynamics dictate that heat naturally rises, which means your attic is the last stop for hot and warm air in your house. Your attic also rests right under your roof, which means on hot summer days the heat is going to radiate through the shingles and collect in your attic, creating a lot of hot air.
Heat is often transferred into an attic room from the sun and the temperature outside. As the roof surface temperature rises, this heat transfers down through the sheathing and rafter framing into the attic.
Roof windows mean that sunlight can enter the room for a large number of hours a day, particularly in the summer months when the sun is higher in the sky. This increases the heat build up in the room.
One of the main reasons why hot air builds up in an attic is due to poor ventilation. Whether your house is old, new, newly renovated or remained untouched for years – chances are your attic ventilation needs some work.
Identifying areas where air might be escaping can prevent unwanted warmth from entering your attic. Plumbing pipes and small openings for wires are often the culprit, but they can be resealed with small pieces of fiberglass insulation or through expanding foam. You can also plug leaky areas with caulk.
Certain types of insulation, such as reflective insulation, is effective at keeping heat out of your home and attic room. Reflective insulation does what its name suggests and reflects incoming heat from the sun that otherwise radiates through your roof and heats the room.
By installing reflective insulation around your attic, you can effectively block much of the heat radiation. This is an extremely effective way of cooling your attic, especially during the summer.
Installing more vents and exhausts in your attic and roof is a good way to allow hot air to circulate in and out of your attic naturally. Coupled with proper insulation, this can massively cool down your attic.
While most housing codes specify a minimum amount of vent openings according to your square footage, it is never a bad idea to add more vents. Increasing the number of soffit vents and roof exhaust will allow hot air to pass through the attic, cooling it down and making it less stuffy.
Adding an openable pitched roof window can also act as a vent, which allows for hot air to leave your house efficiently. They’re therefore a great way to cool down a hot attic. Open windows on opposite sides of the room to create an air flow.
Dakea Better Energy PVC has a two-chamber structure, filled with argon gas, providing better insulation, which limits the amount of heat getting inside the attic in summer. Dakea Better Safe PVC is also a great solution for high-humidity attics, such as those with bathrooms, thanks to its increased resistance to humidity.
Perhaps one of the best choices is the Ultima Energy and PVC window range. Along with three pane, argon-gas glazing, it also has an extra sun protection coating. It’s not only insulative for the winter, but is highly effective at reflecting the sun’s heat in the summer.
If you’re converting your attic, the placement of roof windows should also be a consideration. Placing openable windows on opposite walls will allow for the best air movement during hot days.
Along with good roof windows, good blinds can effectively protect your attic from heat. Blackout blinds for roof windows block sunlight to reduce the heat in the room.
The Dakea Solar operated roller shutter is a fantastic option. It protects against heat in summer and is designed to fit perfectly with all sizes of Dakea roof windows. It is an electric blind that uses solar to power the electric shutter. They are extremely effective at blocking unwanted sunlight, providing essential shade in your room and making your attic cooler.
Interested? View all our blinds for roof windows.
Fans are an easy and affordable way to reduce heat in your attic, as they help to create a draft and make the room feel cooler. Switching on a few electric fans for an hour or two a day helps the air circulate through the room, eventually pushing the hot air out. They’re a great choice for cooling UK attics where heat tends to only be a problem for only a few months a year. However, you could even install an attic fan for a more permanent solution.
Coupled with an openable roof window, fans effectively push hot air out the room, making your attic more breathable and less stuffy. If you do not have a roof window or skylight, leave the door or attic entrance open while the fan is on, as this should help the air circulate too.
If you’re using your attic as a functional space, such as a bedroom or office, then you could consider adding an indoor air conditioning unit. They’re not used as frequently in the UK as in countries prone to hotter temperatures, but they can be a highly effective solution. An AC unit will keep the temperature comfortable so that you can be in your attic for longer periods of time no matter the temperature outside.
A mix of these methods should help to reduce heat and keep your attic cool, even in the summer. Browse Dakea today for roof windows or blinds that will make your attic room a more comfortable temperature.
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