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How do I know if I need more insulation to keep cool in the summer?

I live in the desert of southern California so it can get pretty hot in the summer (110°F is not uncommon). I would like to lower my electric bill, but more to the point, I want to ensure that our house is comfortable without the air conditioning running all the time. What can I do?

Insulation is always good, hot or cold. There are a lot of other considerations to save energy and keep cool. Air leaks, unprotected windows, and ventilation are also important factors. Perhaps you can find an energy audit professional that is not in the business of selling you a product, but rather an honest evaluation and recommendations for your specific situation. Also, keep in mind: there are still some Federal energy tax credits available and perhaps some State ones in your area.

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