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August 14, 2019
As beautiful as Maryland’s Anne Arundel County and Eastern Shore can be during the summer months, anyone who’s lived here knows that it can get hot. Many homeowners in Anne Arundel, Worcester, and Talbot counties recognize the tell-tale signs of July and August—a stuffy and hot second floor, especially in the afternoon and evening—but might not know why it’s happening or how they can use their home’s insulation for cooling off and enjoying year round comfort.
Why is my Upstairs So Hot?
If you often catch yourself saying, “The second floor of my home won’t cool off,” but don’t know how to find solutions, it’s helpful to think about the way the temperature in your home interacts with the temperature outside by understanding what’s called the “stack effect.”
When it’s hot outside (which, let’s face it, is any regular summer day on the Eastern Shore of Maryland), the air density is low. But if the interior of your house is cooler, the air density inside is higher. This imbalance causes the cool air to sink, looking for ways to escape your house through crawl spaces and other lower-level leaks and gaps in your home. As the cool air leaves, hot air is pulled in through similar points in the high areas of your house, like your attic.
So it should be no surprise that during the summer, the upstairs of your home heats up the quickest, as hot air is finding ways inside your home to replace the escaping cool air. And the hotter your bedrooms and upper levels become, the more likely it is that your insulation (or lack of) is to blame.
How can I Keep My Home Cool in the Summer?
The good news is, there are several important steps you can take as a homeowner to counter the stack effect:
Crawl Space Encapsulation
Insulation is one of the biggest changes you can make to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Properly insulating areas of your home like your attic and crawl space to prevent cool air from leaving in the summer and hot air getting in plays a significant role in keeping your home cool and energy efficient. There are several different insulation options to consider, including cellulose (great for wall insulation) and spray foam (which comes in handy with hard-to-reach areas).
Working hand in hand with insulation, air sealing helps cover and fill in the smaller cracks and gaps in your home, ensuring effective protection against unwanted summer heat.
Finally, a key component in home’s ability to efficiently stay cool in the summer (once it’s been properly air sealed and insulated) is crawl space encapsulation, which helps protect the areas under your home. In the hottest months of the year, when the dense cool air is looking for ways out through your house’s lowest levels, spray foam insulation and vapor barrier installation will go a long way towards preventing cold air from escaping.
Choosing an Insulation Expert for your Maryland Home
Approximately 90% of homes in the United States are under insulated, which means there’s a good chance your own home could be doing a better job of maintaining consistent temperature inside. But how do you know which areas of your home to address? At Total Home Performance, our team of certified experts can conduct a detailed, step-by-step home energy audit of your home, including blower door testing and thermal imaging to pinpoint exactly where the problems are.