The only thing worse than a blisteringly hot day in Phoenix is getting your energy bill every month. Staying cool in Arizona can be expensive. Fortunately, there are products for the budget-conscious that can keep your home comfortable and are easy on the wallet.
1. Blown-in Fiberglass Insulation to Keep Heat Away from Interior
On a typical Phoenix summer day, an attic space can reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees. You don’t want that hot air pushing down into your home. Keep it where it belongs by having professionals blow in loose fiberglass insulation to a depth of up to 8 inches. This budget-friendly option makes up for missing batt insulation (pink rolls) or adds to the protection you already have.
While technically, this can be done by a homeowner, it can be extremely difficult to get into all the nooks of an attic. And applying the insulation in a smooth, even manner takes a lot of practice. Finally, a licensed installer can often get the materials at a wholesale rate that would negate anything the homeowner would have saved doing it themselves.
2. Spray Foam Insulate for Superior Protection
For even more protection, homeowners can use spray foam insulation to tightly seal against cool air leaking out and hot air sneaking in.
This form of insulation is created on the spot by spraying a polyurethane liquid that combines with air and expands to fill any space tightly. This expansive property makes it an almost airtight sealant. While costing a bit more than loose-fill insulation, it can pay for itself quickly in reduced air-conditioning costs.
Spray foam works well in-between rafters in walls but can also be used to double down on attic applications.
Many insulation projects can be DIY for the skilled homeowner. Spray foam is not one of them. Because of specialty equipment and safety issues, you’ll want to call in the pros for this job.
3. Install Radiant Barriers to Reduce AC Costs
If you have an attic space that is already insulated and has duct work from an air-conditioner, installing radiant barriers can go a long way to reducing energy costs.
Radiant barriers are a newer technology that is highly effective in redirecting heat away from interior home spaces. Where regular insulation absorbs and traps heat from moving into living spaces, radiant barriers redirect the heat back away from the home before it can increase temperature.
This method uses reflective material and sealing with insulative tape to ease the burden on AC units by keeping the air around the ductwork cooler. When the attic space is cooler, they have to work less. When they work less, you pay less.
Like all insulation methods, a little money spent up front saves money for years and years to come.
Because of the precision needed to install it correctly and the issues around electrical wiring, this is a job for experienced installers.
4. Use Energy-Star Rated Materials
Not all insulation and radiant barrier products are created equal. Having a contractor install high R-value (ability to insulate) products that haven’t been lab-tested to deliver performance can be costly. When embarking on your home insulation project, look for this symbol:
“ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.” (https://www.energystar.gov/about)
When you see the ENERGY STAR® sign, you can be assured that the products will deliver on their promises to insulate. If an ENERGY STAR® insulation product claims to be rated as R38 (typically needed for Phoenix), it has been tested to be precisely that. And it means the product has met flame resistance specifications.
If your contractor doesn’t use ENERGY STAR® products, seriously reconsider who you’re dealing with. They may be looking to cut costs on materials at your expense.
5. Call a Contractor
Most insulation installers are happy to provide a free energy audit and estimate. Call one today. Make sure they offer the options discussed in this article. In an area like Phoenix, the money you spend today can save you up to 40% in energy bills for the life of your home. That’s free money, and who would turn that down?