As temperatures climb, you might notice your HVAC system working harder than usual and a notable increase in your electricity bill. If the warm summer heat is infiltrating your space through an old roof or loose window frames, your AC unit will inevitably have to work overtime.
To keep your house cool in the summer, consider making a few upgrades to better insulate your home, such as energy-efficient window installation, reflective roofing materials, or foam insulation. These improvements can help regulate your home's temperature, make it more energy-efficient, and enhance your property's overall value. In this blog, we’ll explore ways to maintain a cool environment within your home and home improvements that can assist.
Upgrade to energy-efficient windows
It’s no secret that faulty windows let in hot air in the summer. Heat infiltrates through leaks and cracks that may not be visible to the human eye. Even if your window frame is intact, old windows can let in outdoor heat through inefficient glass.
If you notice a draft coming in through one or more of your windows, it may be time to replace them with energy-efficient ones. These replacement windows prevent heat transmission from taking place. However, there are other ways to prevent your windows from letting cooler air escape. Take a closer look at some of the options listed below.
Put in double-pane windows
Homes with single-pane windows allow around 25-30% of heating and cooling energy to escape through the glass. As a result, homeowners end up running their ACs for longer and paying a higher energy bill at the end of the month. Double-pane windows, also called dual-pane windows, offer greater insulation and instantly boost your home’s energy efficiency. According to Architectural Digest, double-pane windows cost between $280-$1,500 to install per window.
Install solar shades
Solar shades, also known as sun shades, have fabrics that help maintain a cool indoor environment during the summer. By blocking harmful UV rays and minimizing heat accumulation, solar shades allow for some sunlight to enter the house without overwhelming its inhabitants. By promoting a cooler environment and letting in natural light, solar shades reduce the need for excessive air conditioning and artificial lighting — which in turn, lowers your energy bill. Solar shades cost $25-$200 per window.
Use reflective window film
Did you know that about 76% of natural light that enters living room windows seeps into homes as heat? A quick and efficient solution to this is to install reflective window films. Reflective window film can obstruct up to 78% of solar heat and protect against 99% of harmful UV rays.
Not only does excessive sunlight raise indoor temperatures, but it also poses a risk to your physical well-being and your furniture’s condition. Therefore, these window films are useful for the summer season and crucial for protecting your skin and home items.
Install reflective roofing materials
Cool roofs help keep homes cool by reflecting sunlight and minimizing heat absorption. They bind back sunlight through high solar reflectance and release absorbed heat through high thermal emittance. Both practices allow cool roofs to significantly reduce external heat transfer into the home.
Not only does this increase comfort levels within the home, but it also reduces energy consumption through HVAC systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, cool roof coating costs between $0.75 to $3.00 per square foot.
Switch to energy-efficient lighting & kitchen appliances
Installing energy-efficient lighting and kitchen appliances can also help reduce the amount of heat generated within your home.
Consider replacing conventional lighting (like incandescent lamps) with more energy-efficient options, such as fluorescent lamps, CFL lamps, and LED lamps. Energy-efficient lighting options often integrate lighting management systems such as timers and ultrasonic sensors-based controls to help regulate lighting activity while you’re not in the room or away from your home.
Given that the kitchen produces a significant amount of the heat produced in a home, it makes sense to replace traditional appliances with energy-efficient ones. Refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, microwaves, and toasters collectively emit heat that lingers well after being shut off. Installing energy-efficient kitchen items can minimize the heat produced and promote a cooler atmosphere for you and your loved ones.
Leverage your ceiling fans
Strategically placed ceiling fans in key rooms within a home can deliver quality air circulation. There’s no doubt that an AC unit is certainly powerful. Still, a ceiling fan rotated counterclockwise can enhance the effects of air conditioning by effectively circulating the cool air produced by an AC unit.
Setting your ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise pushes cool air downward and spreads it throughout the home. Many homes already have ceiling fans in at least a few of rooms. By placing your AC units in these rooms and rotating fans counterclockwise, you can instantly enhance the cool air effect throughout your home.
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Seal with foam insulation
After taking steps to ensure your home is more energy efficient, you want to make sure the cool air circulating within your home stays inside. Adding foam insulation to your walls, attic, and other crawl spaces allows you to seal off key entry and exit points when cool air could escape and warm air could enter.
Foam insulation is resistant to moisture, which means that even when it rains or gets humid outside, insulation will hold. This kind of insulation allows you to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout your entire house. Consider installing exhaust fans in rooms prone to humidity, such as the kitchen or bathroom. This will help reinforce cool air in these areas.
Upgrade your AC unit
Unsurprisingly, an energy-efficient air conditioning unit will be more effective in cooling a home than a regular one. These units are designed to deliver maximum cooling performance while consuming less energy.
Consider an upgrade if your air conditioners are close to requiring maintenance or replacement. If you're wondering when to replace AC units within your home, here are the signs:
- the units are 10 to 15 years old
- they require frequent repairs
- your energy bills are increasing
- cooling is inconsistent in the home
Reinforce cool air through landscaping and outdoor strategies
Homeowners with a green thumb will be happy to know that a few landscaping activities can help keep their homes cool in the summer. Three of the most effective landscaping and outdoor strategies for blocking out summer heat are:
Use trees and large plants for natural shade
Trees and large plants provide homes with natural shading that blocks heat penetration through windows and walls. Plants and trees regularly release moisture, promoting a home cooling effect around your home’s exterior walls, windows, and potentially the roof. Intentionally placing greenery around your property’s walls can help obstruct the intense morning and afternoon sun on either side of your home.
Opting for trees with expansive canopies ensures maximum coverage and can create a cooling effect so you don’t have to spend money to maintain. Planting vegetation that sheds according to the seasons allows for shade in the summer while the leaves grow and unobstructed sunlight in the winter when the leaves have fallen off.
Install pergolas or shade sails
If having trees or plants around your property isn’t possible, consider installing pergolas or shade sails. Both installations promote a cooler environment by reducing sunlight exposure and diminishing heat absorption. While maintaining blinds closed during the hottest part of the day will help deflect some of the sun’s heat, your blinds don’t protect you while you’re outside on your patio.
Installing a pergola or a set of shade sails can help you stay cool while you enjoy your living space outdoors. The average pergola costs about $4,000. However, depending on size and material, pergolas can cost as little as $1,050 or as much as $11,000. Shade sails cost between $6,000-$8,000 each.
Replace your home’s siding
During the hottest months of the summer, certain places throughout the U.S. experience extreme temperatures surpassing 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Under these temperatures, siding can allow in a significant amount of heat, resulting in a warmer living space than desired. Vinyl siding can keep out intense heat infiltration by deflecting the sun’s UV rays.
As a bonus, vinyl siding serves as a great opportunity to refresh the appearance of your home. Forbes estimates the cost of installing new siding between $2 and $9 per square foot. However, it could cost up to $50 per square foot for solid materials such as stone, brick, and veneers.
Installing energy-efficient appliances, enhancing your home’s insulation, and taking on large-scale landscaping activities can prove to be significant financial commitments. Most homeowners would like to make home improvements that keep their homes cool during the summer but don’t always have the financial means to see repair costs and upgrades through. Instead of putting off necessary home improvements, consider a Home Equity Investment (HEI) from Point.
An HEI provides homeowners with a unique financing solution to upgrade their homes. Access a lump sum of money that you can pay back at any time within a 30-years period. There are no monthly payments or restrictions on how to use the funds acquired. Visit Point to find out if you qualify for an HEI and get started on your home renovations soon.