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I'm renting a house that was never originally intended to be occupied full-time. The house is of a cinder block type construction with no insulation in or on the blocks. The attic has some insulation, but only at an R-value of 9. I'm fortunate that I have free natural gas on the property for heating - so heating isn't an issue. However, in the summer the house is unbearably hot and difficult to air-condition with two portable AC units (the windows are an unusual size and won't allow for a standard window unit.)

Edit: I'm in climate zone 6a in central West Virginia. The attic currently has a ventilation fan that I ran around the clock last summer.

Would increasing the insulation in the attic likely make a noticeable difference in cooling the structure in the summer?

  • it's not as effective as it is for heat. you might try increasing shade on the structure. the military uses camo netting, which they hang above tents, and it works very well. Painting the roof white would help as well, especially if it's dark now. Cold water on the hot side, delivered via a sprinkler, can help a lot too, as long as the building doesn't mind. You might try a split AC instead of a portable one, they tend to be much more effective. – dandavis Nov 20 '19 at 19:50
  • "A ventilation fan" doesn't a ventilation system make. Does the soffit have venting such that there's a complete airflow path throughout the attic? In other words, does the attic stay at a reasonable temperature across the ceiling area? – isherwood Nov 20 '19 at 20:56
  • @isherwood, I'll have to climb up and take a peak to see if the soffit vents are unobstructed. – Ramrod Nov 20 '19 at 21:12
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Yes it will make a noticeable difference, but I'd be hard-pressed to do that on a place I was renting. With free natural gas, I'd be tempted to get a NG generator and run bigger A/Cs. I'm surprised you need AC that bad in central WV. I grew up in southern WV w/o AC--and never really needed it up in the mountains... Good luck.

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  • Thanks for the reply, I'm thinking about seeing if I can insulate it in exchange for taking it off my rent. I can't quite figure out for the life of me why it gets so hot. I went hiking for 6 months and was more comfortable in the heat than I am in this place in the summer. – Ramrod Nov 21 '19 at 2:16

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