Due to their position, upper floors get way warmer during summer than the lower ones. If your bedroom is in the attic, you are certainly familiar with this annoying problem.
Many factors cause a hot attic: the roofing material, climate zone, or improper attic insulation. As a result, homeowners have a hard time deciding how to cool or heat their attic to reach the appropriate temperature.
Deciding how to keep an attic bedroom cool in the summer is a complicated process. Luckily, there is plenty you can do to reach a beneficial temperature. As an attic fan, take some time and learn more about the attic room, for instance how it was built and how it is ventilated. Once you have all information, you can cool an attic easier than you think.
How to keep an attic bedroom cool in the summer
Every attic fan knows how cool an attic bedroom can be, and the effort is worth it. You can get rid of the hot air and cool an attic with the proper ventilation, and we will show you how.
Check our list of tips and tricks for the perfect attic bedroom:
Improved circulation and insulation
A hot attic is impossible to sleep in, which is why most attics are used for storage or as entertainment areas. If you are an attic fan, you can change this with proper insulation.
What insulation does is ensure there is a barrier between the inside and outside of your home. It blocks temperature influences and makes sure neither cold air nor warm air can affect the room.
There are several types of insulation to consider:
Spray foam insulation
Image source: Pentoir Construction Inc.
You should consider this insulation because of the big R-value and water resistance. It makes sure there is no leaking air from the outside and helps keep the attic cool.
Image source: Knauf Insulation
Those among you with construction knowledge should also consider blown insulation. This type is even better in terms of energy efficiency – it will keep the carbon dioxide low, the same as your utility bills.
Image source: Celbar
Loose-fill insulation is the best choice for environment-friendly owners of an attic bedroom. There are a few options available, such as mineral wool, cellulose, or fiberglass. They all require some experience and technical know-how.
All three types of loose-fill insulation are made of recycled materials. Cellulose, for instance, is created of shredded boxes and newspapers but is also chemically treated to be resistant to mold and fire.
Loose-fill insulation takes more time to dry, and you must remember to do some proper air sealing. Not doing this may result in lower R-value requirements, and the cellulose insulation may not work.
An attic bedroom should be properly ventilated. This means that normal gable vents won’t work for it, as they only reduce the temperature by about 10 degrees. You should opt for ridge vents or soffit vents, as they both reduce attic temperature by 100 degrees.
Another trick to remember is to use pale-gay or white shingles on the roof instead of black ones. They don’t attract that much sunlight and will keep the attic much cooler in summer.
Don’t forget that proper attic insulation is a precondition for ventilating. Hot air should not enter the attic bedroom, so don’t rely on the windows.
Image source:Western Colloid/
When reroofing, opt for a lighter and more reflective surface, to ensure the roof doesn’t absorb solar heat. If this is not an option, purchase reflective shingles. You will soon notice the dramatic decrease in the room temperature, and sleeping in the attic bedroom won’t be a problem.
A reflective roof deflects rays from the house, and they cannot heat the attic. For both solutions, we recommend you consult a professional roofer unless you have some DIY experience yourself.
Install an air conditioner with a programmable thermostat
Image source:Videre Decor
The programmable thermostat puts you in control of the temperature at all times. The air conditioner is activated only when you are around. The prices of such thermostats vary significantly. The most affordable among them lets you set four conditioning cycles you can reactivate daily.
The air conditioning unit and the thermostat are simple to install, as long as you follow the instructions. All you need to do is to remove the thermostat in place, unscrew the wires attached to the back terminal, and attach the new gadget.
The setting will instruct you on how to program temperature during the day. Typically, it works like this:
- 75 degrees from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- 80 degrees from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- 75 degrees from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- 80 degrees from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Get a fan
Instead of investing in expensive ridge fans or a fancy attic cooler, get a fan. Solar attic fans pull the hot air out of the attic bedroom and transfer it outside. This way, the room remains cooled and well-vented.
These are the two types of attic fans to consider:
Image source: Nathaniel Ebert
- Roof-mounted fans – installing these is simple, but it may require homeowners to cut a small section off their roofs. If you find the task challenging, consider hiring professional help.
Image source: Minka Aire
- Wall-mounted fans – these fans bring in a retro vibe and fit in almost any room. You will need to stick them to the gable wall, and the job will be done. There will be no need for attic ventilation or additional hot attic solutions.
For areas where the temperatures drop to 70 degrees overnight, you can even get a whole-house fan. You can mount the unit on the upstairs ceiling or in the central hall, and it will cool the entire house. Better yet, the unit can run smoothly with open windows, and it will push hot air outside the house. It is also easy to install, as you simply slip it between the joists.
Whole-house fans are very energy efficient, and they only spend as much power as a couple of light bulbs would. Most of them also have a timer and a speed switch and they are easy to control. Make sure you get an insulated box to enclose and protect them during winter.
Get an air conditioner
This tip hardly needs an explanation, as we have an air conditioner in almost any room. An indoor air conditioning unit will help you keep the attic cool, especially if you are using it as an office or a storage unit.
Alternatively, you can get an AC unit that stabilizes temperature for a longer period, so that the attic is comfortable to live and sleep in.
These are the two best options to consider:
Portable air circulation units
The easiest and fastest way to cool an attic is with a portable air conditioner. This two feet tall and 18 inches wide standalone unit can be moved all around, as it is not connected to the ventilation system.
It simply pumps the hot air outside, but keep in mind that you will need to leave the attic room windows open.
Mini-split air conditioners
Image source: Deborah Kirk Interiors, Inc.
Don’t worry if none of the above-mentioned solutions helped cool internal temperature. Alternatively, you can consider installing a single-zone mini-split unit. These units also cut cooling costs, and let you control the temperature with no regard to other cooling or heating sources in the house.
You can install them easily, and use them to either cool or heat attic bedrooms. We recommend them for homeowners living in moderate climate areas.
Install sun blockers
Image source: Celtic Home Gallery
You may not know this, but at least 20 percent of the overall heat coming inside in summer is caused by sunlight coming through windows. Solar gain is great during winter, but it is a huge problem during summer.
Therefore, remember to block the sun’s heat with blinds and curtains, at least during the key daylight hours. If the house is well insulated, the temperature won’t rise more than 1 degree per hour, even if there are more than 85 degrees outside.
Image source: Wilson Homes
If the attic bedroom faces the west side, keep windows covered foremost in the afternoon hours. Consider installing roller shades (they are a bit expensive, but they do a great job) or some more cost-efficient solutions. Other examples include reflective curtains, micro-blinds, or insulated curtains.
Keep also the exterior options in scope: You can plant a shade tree or install an awning in front of the window.
Do some renovation work
Image source: Minhnuyet Hardy Interiors
Most homeowners ignore the actual condition of their attic bedroom when trying to cool it down. Since it was not a living space, they didn’t take care of the cracks and gaps and underestimated their role in poor ventilation.
Plenty of hot air comes inside through these gaps. You should either caulk them or weather-strip them, and you will notice the temperature change immediately.
Do this for the attic bedroom, but also the basement and crawl space, and check all the walls including the ceiling and the floor. Before you install electric ventilation, inspect the condition of the plumbing and electric work. Make sure you also check the kitchen vents and the bath vents. You may also notice leaky areas on the doors and windows, so fix them too. This may be enough to enjoy a comfortable temperature even during extremely hot summer days.
Not many homeowners know how to keep an attic bedroom cool in the summer. This is the reason why many of them decide against it.
And yet, there are many inexpensive ways to keep the attic room cool, as long as you do proper research.
We have suggested eight ways to normalize attic temperatures regardless of where your home is located.
If you don’t feel that confident, you can hire a professional roofer or have an experienced friend help you with the task.
If you enjoyed reading on how to keep an attic bedroom cool in the summer, you should check out these on how to turn a living room into a bedroom, how to divide a bedroom into two rooms, how to convert an attic into a bedroom, and how to build a small closet in a bedroom.
We also wrote about similar topics like how to add a walk-in closet to a bedroom, how to turn a basement into a bedroom, how to stage a bedroom, how to block out the light from a bedroom window, how to fill the empty space in a bedroom, and how to convert a garage into a bedroom.