Do you have a hot bonus room located over the garage or perhaps one surrounded by a hot attic with little to no insulation? What are the best options for insulating the bonus room without creating a moisture problem? Should you add an additional A/C system to get cooler air to that part of the home? These are some of the topics we will discuss in this article.
Why is My Bonus Room So Hot!
Many times the bonus room and most rooms directly under the attic or surrounded by attic are hot primarily due to lack of air sealing and lack of ventilation. The hot attic is getting hotter as the sun beats down on the shingles. That radiant heat is transferred into the attic and then to the living space through air gaps.
Great Article: How to cool an attic bedroom
Addressing Radiant Heat
Radiant heat can be addressed using a radiant barrier, spray foam, or active attic ventilation. We have found that a combination of all three is typical for most attics. Some attics are difficult to move in or have unique architectural challenges that may require all three options to help reduce radiant heat in the attic.
Adding More Air Conditioning
We hear this a lot that homeowners have spent money purchasing more tonnage or a high seer HVAC system and are disappointed at the results. Most contractors make suggestions in reverse when it comes to cooling your home. We feel beefing up insulation in the attic, basement, and crawl space should come first. This can include air sealing and a higher R-value of insulation depending on what part of the home is being affected.
Once the home is properly air sealed and insulated, a load calculation can be done by the HVAC contractor. Air sealing the ductwork to make sure the cold air is arriving at its desired destination is also recommended.
Knee Walls Around the Hot Bonus Room
This is another area often fixed incorrectly. If insulation is installed in the knee walls, it is typically batt insulation that does very little to stop air movement. If the knee wall is air sealed and properly insulated in a way to not restrict ventilation, this is the best method to help cool your bonus room.
Mold in the Attic
Most of the time mold and moisture form in the attic from condensation. This in part can be from improper ventilation as well as a super hot attic surrounding really cold ductwork. Leaky ductwork makes this even worse because the duct insulation has little effect on protecting the ducts.
Never install radiant barrier, even if it is perforated, on top of the attic floor. Perforated radiant barriers can still trap moisture and any dust build-up on top of the radiant barrier can make it ineffective over time.
Hiring the Right Attic Insulation Contractor
Let's face it. Most problems in the attic can be avoided by hiring the right attic insulation contractor. This is rarely the cheapest contractor. We have had to do many redos of attics, basements, and crawl spaces for homeowners that make decisions based on price versus quality. Redoing a project will cost you way more than doing it right the first time.
I hope you found this information helpful in the pursuit of correcting your hot bonus room. We have many videos on fixing hot attics, I will put a link to one below. For others, please check out our YouTube Channel Hot Attic Series.
Also let us know if you have any questions or comments below.
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