Homeowner Reflects to Beat the Heat

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A well insulated home can still have summer heat problems that make the air conditioner work harder. The incentive to finding and fixing them is control of increasing energy costs. A homeowner finds a solution with immediate and dramatic results, which is also quick, easy and inexpensive.

Attics can become heat traps in the summer, making the room below uncomfortable. Here's what one homeowner did that cooled things off quickly, cost under $40, and takes less than 30 minutes to build and install.

A home's largest energy expense is for Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, or HVAC, with Sarah Max in Money Magazine estimating it to be 31%. In Orange, County California, most of that expense is summer air conditioning use.

The usual professional trades were called in to diagnose and recommend a fix for the problem. It being summer, all of them were busy and in any event couldn't get to it for at least several weeks. And, their recommendations didn't quite connect with what the homeowner observed, mainly that the problem only occurred after several successive days with higher than normal temperatures.

Wanting a solution now, the homeowner did some investigation of his own. He discovered that the insulation in the room's attic created trap where heat would build up over several days, without enough cooling dissipation at night. Finding a solution that was quick, easy to implement and inexpensive took some creative work and exercise.

Walking the aisles of a local home improvement store, the homeowner was able to come up with a design by repurposing merchandise that met the requirements. The major piece was using a shiny metal roofing section as a reflector, mounted on the roof in such a way that did not require any holes or breaking through the shingles. All the other pieces fell into place once the reflector was identified.

The details of how the heat trap was identified, located, and fixed are located at http://www.futurewaredc.com/fwsweblog/index.php/2008/07/13/potpouri/beat-the-heat-roof-sun-shield. It includes a free PDF download that contains a parts list, assembly drawings, DIY instructions, and installation photos.

The outside temperature on the day following the installation of the new reflector assembly was close to setting a record, but the problem room stayed as cool as the rest of the house. It has been so ever since.


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Chuck Brooks
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