Keeping A Cool Roof
After doing some yard work in the blazing Phoenix Arizona sun, going into an air conditioned building for a break is heavenly! In Phoenix, having some place to cool off is a necessity, but the energy costs can be quite alarming.
Every year it is estimated that Americans spend upwards of $40 billion dollars on air conditioning costs. Aside from the Arizona climate, the main thing that drives up your cooling costs is your roof. All day long it absorbs the solar radiation from the sun. A dark colored roof combined with a poorly insulated attic can allow temperatures in that attic to reach well over 160 degrees! What can you do? A combination of things can give impressive results.
There is a reason that white is thought of as a summer color. Light colors reflect the heat, while dark colors absorb heat. This is especially true concerning the color of your roof, which bakes in the sun all day long. Your Phoenix roofer can guide you in selecting colors and materials that will effectively reflect the sun’s rays away from your roof.
As your roofer will tell you, there is more work to be done inside the attic. You will need a thick layer of high R rated insulation on the attic floor, above the ceiling of your home. You will want to be sure to use fire retardant insulation. This insulation will help prevent the attic heat from escaping into your home. The heat from the attic can also seep into your duct work causing your air conditioning system to work overtime, thereby shortening its life. While installing the insulation in the attic it is a good idea to check for fire blocking. Modern building methods create instant fire blocks. The continuous top and bottom wall plates at the ends of wall studs form this safety feature. If you have an older home, now is a good time to add this life saving feature that prevents the spread of fire.
Next, you will need to install a radiant barrier between the attic insulation and the inside of the roof. This shiny foil material further helps to keep the heat out of the attic and therefore out of your home. It will help to reflect the sun’s radiant heat back outside.
The attic should also be equipped with plenty of ventilation. Vents are often placed under the overhang and along the ridge of the roof. These vents are very important since hot air will rise, it can now move outside through the vents. Roof vent fans are also a great help in cooling your home. Essentially, they draw in cooler outside air and blow the hot air out through the vents. These improvements will keep your attic much cooler which in turn will keep your home much cooler.
Choosing energy star rated roofing products can help reduce the amount of air conditioning needed to cool your home by up to 20%.
Cool roofs can reduce the roof surface temperature by 50-100 degrees, not only reducing your cooling costs, but also helping the environment by helping to eliminate urban heat islands and the resulting smog.
The cost of cool roofing materials is often comparable to the cost of traditional materials, though cool products can cost slightly more, but the savings in energy costs combined with the savings on roof maintenance and longevity will quickly off set the initial cost. It has been estimated that installing light colored roofs throughout Phoenix alone could save $37 million dollars a year in electricity.
The warm weather is upon us, so it’s a great time to get started with some roof cooling projects that will not only keep you and your family more comfortable this summer, but will also help the environment and save you money.