Having an attic bedroom is a cool amenity in a home. When homebuyers are shopping around the market, they are often looking for the best bang for the buck. In this case, an extra bedroom like an attic bedroom is unique and a quality selling point. Not only does it show a great use of space, but it provides many additional options to the home buyer. Always make sure that the attic bedroom is set up in a manner that allows for your maximum use of the space. If the attic bedroom is simply insulated walls and flooring, then you will want to consider additional items, like ventilation with a window, or added HVAC options. How to cool an attic bedroom? There are a few simple ways, like fans, and a few more complex ways like adding HVAC into the attic.
Let’s take a look below at what the best options are for cooling an attic bedroom.
What Are My Options
As you know, the attic is one of the hottest places in the house but it offers a great amount of space for the growing family or when you need a spare bedroom. If you are wanting to make it a space that can be used all the time, there are a few ways to lower the temperature.
Portable Air Conditioner
A portable air conditioner can be an AC unit that goes in the window or a free-standing portable unit. The window A/C unit does require you to find a unit that is right for the square footage space you have in the room. Also, it is a quick install in the window and can cool an attic bedroom. Another option is a free-standing unit that might be on wheels and you don’t have to put it in the window. However, it does need a way to vent outside to send the carbon monoxide out.
The name of this is misleading as attic fans are not the best fan to use. They pull in cooler water from outside and push out the warmer air in the warmer months. However, in the winter, they keep the warm air inside and push out the cold air. This helps control moisture in the home and keep away mold and rot. Here is the misleading part: it doesn’t provide relief in the form of cool air but does allow the air to circulate, as well as your A/C won’t have to work as hard. It is best to leave it to a professional for installation.
Ceiling fans are another way to cool an attic bedroom. They are great to have as they allow air to be circulated in a room and are always moving. In some climates, a ceiling fan may not make enough air to keep you cool in an attic space. However, combined with your A’/C, you can save money on electricity. Also, in the cooler months, you can reverse the direction so the warm air is circulated.
Proper Ventilation And Insulation
It is important to have proper ventilation and insulation. Without those, the A/C will not do what it is made to do. Ventilation has exhaust and intake and they need to have a balance or they won’t work. If they are balanced, your room temperatures should stay where you want them to be.
These are under the eaves of the roof and are a common intake vent. Soffits have small holes that will allow the air to flow into the attic. Additionally, they are a favorite of builders as they are easy to install, very effective, and the cost is on point
This is an exhaust vent that is on the roofline at the peak of a house. This is the best ventilation that is vertical. Soffits and ridge vents combine together to make a balance of intake.
The only way to protect against very cold or very hot temperatures is to have insulation. Vapor barriers are a must when adding insulation and considering in your plan air space and ventilation as well. There is a climate zone map that will tell you the R-value for that climate. This refers to the thickness of the material, the type, and where it is used.
For example, R30 is for a hot climate, while R-38 is for moderate, and R-39 for cold. There are different forms of insulation – boards, spray, injections, panels, blankets, and loose-fill. The EPA provides a map of the R recommendations as shown below:
Split Ductless Air Conditioning Unit
A split ductless air conditioning unit doesn’t require ductwork to be used so it is easy to install and provides enough air for the space needed.
Reflective Roofing And Radiant Barriers
Reflective Roofing – on the roof of the home and deflects the suns rays so it is not as hot on the roof of the house. In this process, less heat is absorbed.
Radiant Barriers – they prevent the transfer of heat and this is used more in aluminum foil. There is a process for installation of this for it to work.
What Is Too Hot
Believe it or not, creating an attic bedroom without proper ventilation or cooling could be very dangerous. On the days when the outside temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the attic bedroom temperature could easily become 125 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a result of poor ventilation and no proper cooling option. In many cases, the attic space could even surpass 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is enough to cause major health issues, waste your energy, create higher electric bills, and damage the home. Ventilation and cooling are key to keeping the humidity levels in your attic bedroom at a reasonable number. At no time should your humidity levels reach above 50% or below 15%. If either of these occurs, you will want to enhance your ventilation and insulation.
How Much Does It Cost
The cost to cool your attic space will vary based on what your project goals are. If you are installing a simple ceiling fan or a floor unit, it will likely cost whatever the local hardware store charges for that fan. However, if you are looking to install HVAC from the home into your attic bedroom, then the cost ranges from $100 to $350 for parts and labor. If you are looking just to insulate the attic bedroom space, then you are looking to pay an average cost of $100 to $400. Keep in mind that the choice you make for cooling your bedroom is what will impact the amount you spend.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know about cooling an attic bedroom, there are a few other areas to keep an eye on.
One of those areas is making sure you don’t have asbestos insulation in the attic. This looks loose, lumpy, fluffy, granular, and pebble-like. The two types are loose fill and vermiculite. Loose fill is also known as blown-in insulation, while vermiculite looks like pebbles that are silver gold and gray-brown.
Another area to look at is sealing your skylight if you have one or more in your home. Sometimes the sealant needs replacing and you want to find this out before the storm comes that starts leaking into your home. Other times, it may be that there is debris on the track so make sure it is clean and the skylight is closed. Also, check the window that it is not damaged.
Lastly, sometimes there is a lot of moisture in the attic and mold will grow. If you find mold on attic plywood, you can get this off with a chemical solution, a spray, and scrubbing. The mold may be due to roof leaks, raise shingles, ventilation, and air gaps.
When Do I Call A Professional
Cooling an attic bedroom requires a professional if you are looking to invest more than just a simple fan. With building codes being complex and the lack of HVAC installation knowledge that most homeowner’s possess, it is a great idea to reach out to your local professional contractor. Now that you understand what the options are for cooling an attic bedroom, you might want to reach out to your local HVAC professionals. If you aren’t sure what your best approach is, contact your local home inspection team. They can inspect the attic space and recommend the most suitable option for your home. They can also recommend the most reputable professional contractor to complete the project.
An attic bedroom provides extra space to have guests over or to use for the growing family. However, keeping it cool is the key so that someone can stay in there comfortably. Finding what works best for that room might take some trials but you will find it. If you aren’t sure what exactly is needed for this project, reach out to your local home inspection team. Call on Colorado Inspection Team can take a look at your attic bedroom cooling needs during a home inspection in Castlerock, CO, and the Front Range areas.