Summer is here and while it may feel like it's just begun, it won't be long until temperatures rise and the heat lasts for days on end.
You can crank up that air conditioning or spend your time in the neighbor's pool but if you're looking for more sustainable solutions to keep your home cool this summer, we've got you covered with these heat-reducing home improvement tips.
If you're not already using energy efficient light bulbs, this little fact might help you make the switch. 90% of the energy used by incandescent bulbs is wasted in the heat they give off. Not only will the switch help you reduce heat, but you'll enjoy savings on your energy bill as well with these efficient bulbs. Similarly, your large appliances like fridges, stoves and dishwashers also give off ambient heat in your home. You can cut down the amount of heat they emit by upgrading to newer energy-star models.
One of the most important factors in regulating the temperature in your home no matter the season is your windows. If your windows are older, they may not have been constructed with energy efficient materials. To get the best results when replacing your windows, go for high performing, double pane glass. And if your windows are relatively new, check for air leaks and repair them with caulking. This will also help you keep out other unwanted weather like the cold and the rain.
You can further reduce the heat coming in your windows by changing the coverings. Closing the blinds may seem obvious but it's an important step in keeping your home cool. Black-out or thermal curtains in light colors are said to reduce incoming heat by 33%. You might take extra care in blocking out east and west facing windows. In addition to curtains, you might add blinds or even exterior shutters.
Install ceiling fans wherever possible to keep the air moving. Ceilings fans should also be adjusted seasonally. In the summer, set the fan so that the blades spin counter-clockwise to give off a cooling breeze. Running your bathroom fans will also help to draw the hot air out of your home.
Additionally, consider installing attic fans. It's not surprising your attic will typically be much hotter than the rest of your house, sitting under the hot sun all day. An attic fan will improve ventilation and help get the hot air out. There are many types of attic fans available, some require little work while others slightly more but there are options to suit your needs.
Your home's insulation isn't just about keeping you warm in the winter, it's also working to keep your home cool in the summer. It may not be feasible to tear out your drywall to add additional insulation, but with new tools like spray foam insulation, you may be able to do the job without the reno. If not, bulk up the insulation in more accessible spaces like your attic or around your ducts.
Why not cut down on the heat in your home while upping the curb appeal at the same time? Try planting trees or climbing vines to shade windows that receive direct sunlight. Awnings and pergolas will also provide shade over your windows on hot summer days. If installing a new deck or porch, choose materials that reflects the heat rather than absorb them. If you really want to give your home a new look while reducing its heat, paint your home in light colors to further reduce its absorption.