Improving Your Roof to Reduce Energy Costs
The Difference Quality Roofing & Attic Insulation Can Make
A roof is much more than just its external appearance. Beyond shingles and the underlying roofing material, there’s an intricate system at work that should be engineered not only for safety and protection, but also for moisture prevention and energy savings as well.
Your roof’s ability to maintain energy efficiency depends entirely on the quality and types of roofing materials used, the quality of the initial installation, and the quality of insulation and ventilation in your attic. If your roofing contractor installed your roof without your climate, house design and other factors in mind, then your roof could be costing you money each month. Improper use of roofing materials, insulation and ventilation are usually the reason a roof doesn’t perform up to standard and doesn’t last long enough.
With this in mind, you’ll want yourself of a J & B West estimator to assess the status of your current roof to determine if it’s in need of repair, upgrades or even total replacement. Without making the right decisions to improve your roof quality, you could be paying more for your heating and cooling than is necessary.
Benefits of Proper Roofing, Ventilation & Insulation
A quality roof that’s properly constructed is an important investment. Here are the ways an investment in quality roofing can improve your life and finances:
- Adds value to your home upon resale
- Provides reliable safety and shelter to protect your family from disasters
- Eliminates headaches that come with roof leaks
- Prevents heat loss and/or heat gain, efficiently containing conditioned air
- Saves money on monthly utility costs
- Saves money on insurance costs
How Poor Quality Roofs Drive up Energy Costs
If you suspect your roof is worn out, damaged or was never properly installed, it could be costing you money on your monthly energy bills. Or perhaps your roof is at the end of its life cycle and needs to be replaced altogether. Several factors could be driving up your energy costs no matter which stage your home’s exterior is at.
If you’re concerned about your current roof driving up your energy bills, then consider the following factors that may be affecting your home:
- Poor quality insulation and insulating materials
- Worn out roof underlayment material
- Poor ventilation, roofing and soffit
- Low-quality roofing materials used or improper installation (ex. Nails above or below nail strips, etc.)
- Roof construction not being up to code
A new roofing investment that addresses your home’s current roofing challenges is an important place to start when improving your home’s energy efficiency. When considering the types of roof repairs or replacements your home needs, it’s important to look at the roof in its entirety. A complete roof replacement can only provide long-term benefits if the home is also well insulated and allows for proper ventilation.
A poorly insulated home, especially where the attic is concerned, is one of the biggest contributors to a home’s over-consumption of energy. If insulation is made from low-quality material, was installed improperly or is compacted, it won’t perform its job correctly. Please identify the recommended R-values in our region.
Poor insulation can contribute to a process known as heat gain. During hot summer months, the sun heats your roof, which absorbs partially into your attic. Poor insulation may allow a transfer into your home, allowing for heat gain. This forces your home’s air conditioning system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. While the air conditioner works harder than it needs to during the summer, this unnecessarily drives up your utility costs.
During the winter months, the opposite effect occurs. Poor quality insulation doesn’t sufficiently maintain the heat inside the home. Instead, it allows for the heat inside the home to escape into the attic which is vented to the home exterior. This process is called heat loss. Heat loss forces your home’s heating system to work harder to continue heating the home in order to compensate for the heat loss. As a result, this extra heat consumption is reflected in your monthly energy bills.
Heat loss and heat gain attributed to poor insulation are an overall lack of energy efficiency. This is one of the most important roofing challenges to solve when investing in a new roof to save money on energy bills.
When a home’s roofing system isn’t properly ventilated, it can cause moisture to build up and be trapped inside the attic spaces or rafts. If enough moisture collects, it can turn into condensation or mold. When enough condensation builds up, it can begin dripping onto the insulation. Over time, this can deteriorate the insulation, which encourages heat loss and drives up utility bills. Stagnant and/or moist air allows mold spores to thrive which is an unhealthy presence in your home. Proper roofing ventilation is crucial to maintaining your roofing material and keeping a safe environment for you and your belongings.
Improper Roofing Materials
Older roofing materials wear out quickly and need replacing more frequently. Roofing materials from previous decades weren’t designed with the same concern for energy efficiency as roofing materials are today. Additionally, roofing materials were often selected out of cost-effectiveness rather than taking into consideration your home’s design and climate. For this reason, older roofing materials may allow additional heat loss or gain, which drives up your utility costs.
Not up to Code
Older homes that aren’t up to current code standards haven’t been built with energy efficiency in mind. Upgrading and repairing your roof or replacing it altogether, can bring your roof up to current code. These adjustments will improve the roof’s quality and minimize moisture leakage, as well as heat loss and heat gain.
How a New Roof Can Save Energy and Money
Making changes, upgrades or entire replacements to your roof can greatly improve your home’s energy efficiency, which in turn lowers your heating and air conditioning costs. If you’re looking to increase your home’s energy efficiency and save money, here are some improvements and upgrades to consider:
- New insulation
- Investing in energy-saving roofing materials
- New or improved roofing ventilation such as ridgevent
Energy-Saving Roofing Materials
New roofing materials and design technology can maximize energy efficiency. Roof replacements consider your home’s design as well as the climate to provide the correct type of roofing for your situation. Selecting the correct roofing materials can help mitigate heat loss and heat gain in your home. Consider which roofing materials are right for you such as shingles.
When poor insulation is replaced with new, high-quality and properly installed insulation, it can drastically improve a home’s energy efficiency levels. In fact, some insulation types are so effective at mitigating heat loss or heat gain that the heating or cooling systems don’t kick in until outside temperatures have reached a certain level. Without the regular and continuous use of heating or cooling, your monthly utility costs will decrease.
Improve Roof Underlayment
New roof underlayment products are available today that are designed to last longer and provide greater moisture protection over time. When making an investment in roofing repairs and installation, you may find comfort installing new synthetic underlayment will protect your home from condensation and moisture damage.
Factors to Consider When Upgrading Your Roof
When looking for a new roofing solution, there are certain factors to consider that are unique to your home and location. If you’re thinking of making roofing improvements, be sure to consider the following:
- The climate
- Your home’s age
- Your home’s design, including roof pitch(es), direct sun or shade, vent layout, etc.
When investing in a new roof, it’s important to consider your climate. With so many new roofing technologies today, homeowners can take advantage of their natural climate in order to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Many country homes near open fields and homes on Lake Michigan experience high winds and the brutal lake effect winter weather. Installing the right material the right way can protect your home and loved ones for decades to come.
Your Home’s Age
Depending on the age of your home, a full roof replacement may or may not be necessary. Perhaps insulation or ventilation upgrades will suffice to start seeing a difference on your utility costs.
However, if your home is older, it may be in need of a complete roof replacement as repairs or insulation improvements won’t be enough. Consider the long-term energy savings you’ll experience with a complete roof replacement as well as the value it can add to your home.
Your Home’s Design
Some homes are designed with different styles of roofs. Depending on slopes and pitches, certain roof and ventilation designs may be more complex than others. This may determine the type of insulation, ventilation system and roofing materials that will be most effective for your home’s design.
Long-Term Roofing Investment
With so many factors to consider when it comes to your roofing solutions, it can be overwhelming — especially where a financial investment is concerned. You want to know you’re making the correct decision for your future — and the one that will pay off over time.
The important thing to remember is that roofing upgrades and installations provide a long-term solution. An investment in roof repairs, upgrades or a new installation won’t provide an immediate return on your full financial investment. It may take upwards of five to 10 years before you recoup the cost of a roof replacement or certain repairs and upgrades. As your monthly energy bills decline due to your new and improved roofing solution, you will eventually achieve a full return.
If your current roof isn’t up to par, you could be losing money each month. Before beginning any repairs yourself, contact an expert roofing contractor for advice.
The roofing experts at J & B West Roofing and Construction can assess your current roof and let you know how updates or a new roof installation can save you money on energy bills. Contact J & B West Roofing and Construction today or call us at (219) 363-6151 to learn more about improving your roof’s energy efficiency.