For most people, turning on the fans around the house is the fastest way to create a nice breeze indoors. However, many do not realize that the key to reducing their house’s temperature lies on the top floor of their home – the attic.
Opening the attic door can cool down the house. The attic is often the hottest part of your house. The heat can leak into your living areas, causing your house to be hot and stuffy. Opening the attic door and maximizing its ventilation allows hot air to escape and cool, fresh air to enter your home.
The rest of this article will explore a few topics related to this question, including why the attic often feels hot in the summer and why it is important to keep the attic cool.
How Opening the Attic Door Helps Cooling the House
Most people rarely give even a half-hearted thought to their attics.
They do not realize that the attic is a crucial part of the house.
An overheated and unventilated attic can spell disaster for your energy bills in the summer months.
Let’s see how regulating your attic’s temperature and ventilation can affect the overall temperature of your home.
Hot Air Rises, Cold Air Sinks
According to the United States Department of Energy, hot air is typically less dense than cold air.
This causes hot air to rise and cold air to sink.
This phenomenon is often called the chimney effect; it explains how cool air enters the home, absorbs heat, rises, and exits through the upper floor of the house.
The chimney effect is also why the second floor of your home feels hotter than the first floor.
Since the attic is often the highest point of a house, it is only natural that all the hot air from your home will accumulate there.
If the heat has no way of exiting the space, the attic will slowly get hotter and more humid.
When the attic becomes overheated, it can also affect the temperature of your living area.
The Importance of Ventilation
Opening the attic door is only one part of the equation. Proper ventilation is also essential for cooling down your house during hot weather.
A sealed attic with no ventilation traps excess heat and moisture and also can lead to wood sap formation in your attic.
If your attic is unventilated, your house might feel even more stuffy when you open its door.
A good attic ventilation system allows the hot air in your attic to escape.
Plus, it can also invite a refreshing breeze from the outdoors into your home. This phenomenon will help your house cool down naturally.
Aside from windows, passive ventilation is the most common way to vent an attic.
You can facilitate this process by making sure there are two types of vents installed in your attic:
- Intake vents: To allow cool air to enter the attic. Usually installed at the lowest part of the roof.
- Exhaust vents: To allow hot air to escape the attic. Usually located at the peak of the roof.
That said, passive ventilation alone may not be enough in some cases.
If you live in an extremely hot or humid climate, you should invest in some exhaust fans.
These fans can help improve airflow in your attic by expelling hot air out when the attic becomes sweltering.
Read also: How Hot Is Too Hot Inside A House?
The Verdict: Opening an Attic With Proper Ventilation Can Help Cool the House
From a technical standpoint, opening the attic door allows you to take advantage of the chimney system.
If your attic is properly ventilated, opening its door will help the hot air from your entire house to enter the attic.
With a good attic ventilation system, the hot air will eventually be exchanged with the cooler outdoor air.
Thus, opening the door will naturally cool down your house without having to use an air conditioner.
When Should You Open Your Attic Door?
Assuming you have sufficient attic ventilation, you should open your attic door in the afternoon to keep your house cool in the summer.
This will allow hot air from your living quarters to rise to the attic and escape the house via your attic’s ventilation.
Furthermore, opening your attic door will also allow some cool draft to enter your home.
However, you should not open your attic door if the air-conditioner is on.
This will only force the AC to work harder to cool your home, thus increasing your energy bill exponentially.
You can simply open your attic windows and keep the door closed if the AC is on.
Doing this will prevent your attic from overheating while also confining the AC’s cool air to areas where it’s needed.
Furthermore, you should avoid opening the attic when it becomes too hot.
If the attic is overheated, vent it and lower its temperature before opening the attic door. Otherwise, you might cause the inhabited part of your home to become even hotter.
When Does the Attic Become Too Hot?
Ideally, the attic temperature should be as close to the outdoor temperature as possible.
Even though the attic naturally gets hotter in the summer, its temperature shouldn’t exceed 130°F (54.44°C).
When it’s hot outside, it’s normal for the attic to be 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the outdoors.
It’s time to take action when its temperature exceeds that point. You should vent the attic immediately by opening its windows or turning on exhaust fans.
Once the attic has cooled down, you can open its door to facilitate airflow exchange throughout the house.
Since hot air rises, the summer heat often accumulates in the highest part of your house, the attic.
However, once the heat is trapped in your attic and has nowhere to go, your attic will start to become overheated.
Then, the heat will eventually start leaking into your living areas.
Opening your attic door and windows is an effective way to release the hot air.
This will also help fresh breeze enter your home, thus cooling it down naturally.
Cheers, tools owners!