In many houses, the attic space is the space that gets neglected the most. It is mainly used as extra space for storage and it is very rarely converted into livable space. Since it doesn’t get that much attention, it usually collects dust, spider webs, bugs, and moisture from heat. Sometimes, the attic becomes so bad that it turns into the room that people fear the most…in their own house!
Attics usually occupy the top floor and are usually accessible through a pull down door in the ceiling. The access space is narrow which makes it difficult to turn it into any sort of living space. In a home with this design, it is easy to understand how the attic can be neglected.
However, in many homes, the attic is on the same floor as the bedrooms. It is usually kept unfinished and poorly insulated. There may be a window or gable vents present but this does not seem to help with the air flow. When the weather is hot, heat rises and the stagnant hot air stays trapped in the room. Since it occupies the same floor as the bedrooms, the door needs to be kept closed and the space underneath the door needs to be blocked so the heat does not escape.
If your home is designed this way, You should seriously consider controlling the climate in your attic space. The best way to do this is by converting it into livable space. If you do not want to go through the trouble of doing this, you can do the bare minimum, which would pretty much convert the space into a climate-controlled storage room.
During the summer, this would help you out a great deal for a few reasons. First, since there is not much movement in the attic, critters tend to feel safe in this space. And it is not just your normal pests like spiders, roaches, and mice. The heat from the attic also attracts bees, wasps and snakes. These animals love heat and they will go where the heat is. They do not discriminate.
Second, the heat in your attic can compromise the integrity of the rafters and roof planks. These things are usually made of wood and can wear prematurely if they hold too much moisture and heat. Wood expands with heat, making it weaker and open to damage. If this happens, you will have a very expensive repair to deal with.
And lastly, you can prevent the possibility of a fire. In most attic spaces, the floor is covered with loose-fill cellulose insulation, which is very flammable. There are also light fixtures and ceiling fan fixtures protruding from the floor. These fixtures give off heat and usually sit very close to the insulation. Combine this heat with the stale heat and wood in the attic and you have a very serious fire hazard.
There should be a perimeter around the fixture and the loose-fill insulation but there is still a chance that a fire can start, especially with the insulation being so light and loose. If you convert your space into a climate-controlled space with flooring, you can replace the loose-fill with fiberglass insulation which is larger, more compact and easier to control.
So as you can see, cooling your attic space can keep you comfortable as well as safe. If you are not working with limited finances, it would be best to convert your attic space into living space and install central air conditioning to keep it cool. If you cannot do this, a portable air conditioning unit will do the job as long as the attic space is well ventilated.