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Attic Air Conditioner: What To Look For?

Attic Air Conditioner: What To Look For?

The outdoors can become a soothing and revitalizing retreat during the summer. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same inside, especially in attics. One of the most neglected parts of a home is the attic, which can easily catch fire during the hottest summer days. As a result, cooling your attic area becomes fairly difficult.

In the summer, the glaring sun can significantly increase the temperature in your attic. Installing an air conditioner is your greatest option for keeping the ideal temperature in the attic. Finding the ideal AC for your attic can be difficult and time-consuming. This article will cover everything for you, including factors to take into account when purchasing attic AC and selecting the appropriate model.

Why Is It Necessary For You To Have Air Conditioner In The Attic?

Attic Air Conditioner: What To Look For?

Attics, which were once only used for storage, are now being converted into valuable extra living space. Attic conversions began as a trendy remodeling project, but they quickly became a necessity. You can use the extra space as a home office, studio, guest room, home library, or anything else that suits your needs.

One major issue that could stand in your way is attic cooling, which is a difficult task. As a result, an air conditioner must be installed in your attic.

  • An attic air conditioner assists you in keeping your attic at a comfortable temperature.
  • Warm, moist air can accumulate in some closed-off attics, causing humidity levels to rise. This can promote mold growth. Because an air conditioner cools by removing water vapors from indoor air, it will aid in humidity regulation in your attic.
  • The warm air in the attic is transferred to the lower levels, especially if your attic is not properly ventilated and insulated. This affects the overall temperature of your home, putting strain on your HVAC system and raising your cooling costs.
  • An attic air conditioner extends the life of your roof by removing excess heat and moisture, both of which can damage the roof’s structure.

What To Look For When Purchasing An Attic AC Unit

Attic Air Conditioner: What To Look For?

The area of your home that is most vulnerable to temperature changes is the attic. Additionally, the strange shape created by the sloped roofs leaves very little room on the walls. Because of this, not all air conditioners would be suitable for installation in this area.

Before buying an air conditioner for your attic, take into account the following:

1. Insulation For Attics

Check to see if there are any uninsulated areas before putting an AC in your attic. There is no point in conditioning your attic if it is vented or uninsulated since you will end up losing all of the cooled air. To cool the heated air, the air conditioner in your attic already has to work harder than a typical room air conditioner. In this situation, a lack of insulation will further reduce your AC unit’s efficiency.

2. Heat Pump For Comfort All Year Long

It would be beneficial if you opt for an attic air conditioner that can offer you both cooling and heating so that you can feel comfortable throughout the year. By doing so, you wouldn’t need to install two different systems to heat and cool your home attic.

3. Installation Ease

Choose an air conditioner that fits well and is simple to install based on the size of your attic space. Installing a window air conditioner in an attic with small roof windows, for example, would be extremely difficult. Similarly, portable units will not work in small attics because they take up floor space.

Second, if you’re on a tight budget, look for a DIY-friendly air conditioner to save money on installation.

4. Size Of Air Conditioners

It is crucial that you purchase an AC unit for the attic that is the right size. Regular indoor spaces only need 20 British Thermal Units (BTUs) per square foot, whereas attics require more. These areas absorb sunlight from above and retain heat from the dwelling. They become quite heated in the summer because of this.

According to the formula, you will receive 8,000 BTUs per 400 square feet. But for the attic, you should pick a unit with at least 10,000 BTUs. Your attic air conditioner won’t have to work harder than it can and will continue to provide effective cooling as a result.

5. Energy Conservation

Always check the EER rating of the AC unit when purchasing an attic air conditioner. You should look for an air conditioner with a rating of at least 9. However, air conditioners with an EER rating of 12 or higher are the true energy-saving behemoths.

6. Durability

When purchasing an attic AC unit, keep durability in mind. A good mini-split, for example, can last for 15 to 20 years. A portable air conditioner, on the other hand, may be more convenient and less expensive, but it will only last 7 to 10 years.

AC Units That Are Appropriate For Attics

There are many different kinds of air conditioners available for attic installation. It is highly expensive to knock down walls to install ductwork in the attic and link it to your current HVAC system if there isn’t any already there. It is therefore not economical to use a central air conditioner in the attic. This reduces your options for an easier-to-use ductless attic air conditioner.

1. Mini-Split AC

Attic Air Conditioner: What To Look For?

The ideal option for the air conditioner in the attic is a mini-split unit. These air conditioners are dependable and economical to run. They operate quietly because its noisy component (compressor) is positioned outside of your space.

Although these attic AC units are more expensive, their durability, quiet operation, ease of installation, and energy efficiency make them the best option. They are installed high on the wall, so there will be no space issues, but they will not be suitable if the walls are short.

2. Window AC

A window air conditioner is another option, particularly if you require a small attic air conditioner. They are the least expensive of the attic air conditioner options. Their energy efficiency is higher than that of portable air conditioners but lower than that of mini-splits.

To install this kind of AC, you must have a window that is large enough. Installing attic air conditioners on windows that are slanted or narrow becomes all but impossible.

3. Portable AC

Attic Air Conditioner: What To Look For?

The one or two hoses that are included with portable air conditioners must be vented outside through a wall or a window. This is necessary to adequately cool your attic and exhaust hot air. Depending on the size and location of your attic window, attaching a hose to it can occasionally be challenging. A window kit, which typically comes with portable AC units, might simplify the operation if your window is easily accessible.

Portable units are popular because they are portable but also take up a lot of floor space. Another issue is that portable attic air conditioners are not as energy efficient as they should be. Second, they are far less long-lasting than mini-splits and window units.

4. Through-The-Wall AC

Because they are installed through a large hole in the wall, these air conditioners are known as through-the-wall ACs. Carving this hole in an attic can be difficult and should only be done by professionals. Furthermore, because they are large, they do not appear aesthetically pleasing.

There are not many issues, except from the installation issue and aesthetics. When compared to portable or mini-split AC, these air conditioners are less expensive. They are highly efficient, second only to mini-splits, which is another benefit.

Air Conditioner In The Attic To Control HVAC System

Attics are sometimes used to house people’s central air conditioning systems. This is true since an HVAC system can be installed in the attic, saving on space. Second, it is less expensive and simpler to install air conditioning units in the attic. The item just needs to be installed once, then left in place. You don’t have to finish everything and cover it.

However, attics are the hottest part of a house, with temperatures reaching 100F to 150F, whereas the air inside ducts is cooled to a much lower temperature. Because heat travels from a higher to a lower temperature, this difference causes a lot of heat gain, especially if your ducts and attic aren’t properly insulated. In this case, you can regulate the temperature of your attic with a ductless air conditioner. You can set your attic AC to a higher temperature, which will keep the hot air at bay. This will not only improve the efficiency of your central air conditioning system, but it will also lower your cooling costs.

Utilize A Smart Controller With Your Attic AC

By connecting it to a smart AC controller, you may improve the performance of your mini-split, portable, or window AC unit in the attic. You can operate your air conditioner using an app on your phone with smart AC controllers. It enables you to automate your attic climate and offers you remote access to a wide range of settings and modes. The major benefit is that you can save money on expenses while enjoying the ideal humidity and temperature conditions.

You can program intelligent triggers to maintain your preferred temperature/humidity levels, and your air conditioner will do the rest. A smart air conditioner will allow you to program weekly schedules to precisely condition the room. If you use your attic as an office, you can program your air conditioner to run during work hours and then turn it off for the rest of the day.

How To Fix Problems With Attic Air Conditioners?

Numerous factors may be to blame if your attic air conditioner is not cooling your home as it should.

Inadequate Insulation

Lack of insulation can lead to air leakage, which is the primary issue. So, to keep the conditioned air inside and prevent leaking, identify the air leaks and adequately insulate your attic.

There are various types of insulation available, including radiant and reflective insulation, spray foam insulation, and foam board insulation. For unfinished ceilings and walls, foam board and blanket insulation are preferable; however, spray foam or loose-fill insulation are preferable for difficult-to-reach corners.

Incorrect Size Of Air Conditioner

Another reason an attic air conditioner fails to adequately cool the space is its small size. An attic requires more BTUs to cool than a standard room of the same size. A unit that is too small for the space will take much longer to set up and will struggle to keep a comfortable environment.

Insufficient Air Circulation

Lack of air circulation may be the problem in a big or divided attic. In addition to your attic AC, you can utilize a fan to address this issue. Fans are excellent for improving air circulation in a place, but they cannot independently cool or heat a room. Fans aid in circulating the air in your attic to prevent hot and cold patches.

Obstructed Drain Pipes

A clogged drain pipe or a filthy air filter may be to blame for your AC unit’s attic leak. Cleaning your AC filter and drain pipes will fix the issue. It is preferable to get in touch with a specialist if the problem is still not fixed.

If you intend to use your attic as a living space, you must have an attic air conditioner. To meet your cooling needs, you can install a mini-split, portable, or window air conditioner. However, before settling on one device, you should consider the BTUs, energy efficiency, durability, and comfort. For added convenience, pair it with a smart AC controller.

Attic Air Conditioner: What To Look For?

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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