7 Solutions for Keeping Your Home Cool in the Summer
It’s officially summer, but it’s not like previous ones. During the pandemic, many people will find themselves spending more time at home, which means that they’ll have to find ways to stay comfortable in their homes as the thermometer outside ticks up. There are many methods you can employ in keeping your home cool in the summer, from the floor to the roof and much more in between. Here are seven places to start if you want to cool down your home.
1. Examine Your HVAC Unit
Many people tend to wait until their air conditioning stops working to take a look at it — and how often is that day the hottest of the year? If you have an AC, you should be checking on your filters every 4-6 weeks. Gathering dust can stem airflow.
Some air conditioner filters can’t be cleaned — they’re meant to be replaced. Your owner’s manual should be able to tell you if your filters can be reused. If you can clean your filter, you can usually do so with a vacuum cleaner, a garden hose, or you can wipe it down with a gentle cleaning solution. You can also consult with a residential plumbing company that can help with repairs as well.
If you have an older model and don’t know where to start, you can also look up the nearest air conditioning services business near you for some professional advice.
But your air conditioning is just a part of your HVAC unit. After all, it stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. That means that the ducts that help cycle clean, comfortable air through your home also needs to be considered. Dirty ducts can also affect air flow throughout your house and limit the effectiveness of your AC unit. If you notice dirt on the filter lid or traces of mold, it’s time to seek the advice of an HVAC services provider.
Did you know that the EPA claims that 25-30% of house heat can be lost just through your windows? Maybe it’s time to take a look at yours.
Keeping your home cool in the summer can really be as simple as closing your blinds, just as opening them can warm your home in colder months. You can also save money in energy costs.
Another helpful approach can be window awnings. The Department of Energy reports that adding highly reflective awnings over your windows can reduce thermal energy gain by anywhere from 65-77%, depending on the direction the window is facing.
Blackout curtains can also help cool down your house. They’re made from a foam-backed fabric. While they are mainly used to block out light, they can also help keep light out, thus lowering the temperature.
Window film is another way to cool down a room. They can serve various purposes — such as tinting a window or blocking ultraviolet rays. Both types limit the amount of sun getting into your home. The tint sheets adhere to the window. They can be purchased in pre-cut sheets or in rolls so that you can customize the fit. Many are easy to remove and usually do not leave a gluey mess on the window. Still, if choosing this option, take your time during the installation process or you’ll end up with air bubbles. The best way to avoid this is to make sure the window is clean before placement, and to use a scraper to smooth it out along the way.
Generally, changing out your home windows are suggested every 10-15 years. If that time is coming for you, another option is vinyl replacement windows if you’re interested in keeping your home cool for the summer. These windows are relatively inexpensive and also energy efficient. Sometimes, though, it is possible to repair your windows with caulking if there are gaps causing air to escape from your house. This guide from Consumer Reports can help you determine what will work for you.
Fans can also be useful in keeping your home cool in the summer. There are many styles of fans — mini-fans for the desk in your home office, standing fans as a mobile option and also ceiling fans. There are also window fans.
Even if you have an air conditioning unit, fans can help that cooler air circulate When considering fan options, one thing to think about is room size. If you have a small room, it might not make sense to go with a large fan. Also, the makeup of your household could be a factor. If you have small children or pets, standing fans might get knocked over often and could even cause injury.
Ceiling fans are a popular choice, given the wide variety and styles. Fans can be fairly inexpensive to use and you can calculate just how much you can expect to pay to keep yours running with this calculator.
Installing a ceiling fan isn’t an easy task, especially because electricity is involved.
Also, it’s essential to make sure the fan is placed flush against the ceiling to avoid wobbliness. It might be a good idea to seek out experts who specialize in residential electrical services instead of doing it yourself.
Regardless of which fan you choose, remember to set the fan to run counter-clockwise. This pushes cool air down. This setting can and should be changed in the winter months, so that cool air is pushed up to the ceiling and pushes warm air down. Consult your manual to figure out where your settings are.
When it comes to the doors inside your home, it’s a good idea to keep room doors open to keep air flowing freely during the summer. For exterior doors, the best types of doors for keeping your home cool in the summer are considered to be steel and fiberglass. These types of doors, according to the Department of Energy, are more energy efficient and can help avoid increased electric bills. If you choose a door style with glass panes, understand that the more panes in the door, the more opportunity there is for air to seep out. Luckily, window tints, like those that you find on cars and in corporate offices, can help prevent sunshine from making your home even hotter.
If it’s not yet time to change out your doors, you can consider installing a storm door as another possible way to keep cool air from escaping. Make sure that you choose one that fits snugly into the frame so the door shuts completely.
Another important element of securing your doors so that they’re keeping your home cool in the summer is weather stripping. It’s that rubber or plastic material that you can find on doors that help seal them shut. Some municipalities actually require weather stripping for doors because it’s so important to energy efficiency. When it’s time to replace yours, make sure you have the right size – there are many varieties. Removing old weather stripping might require a scraping tool because of its sticking backing, but once you’ve done that hard part, replacing it is simple.
5. Outer Structural Fixes
One solution to keeping your home cool in the summer is starting at the top — your roof.
If you have a new roof, you can paint it with white roof paint. This reflects the heat away from the surface instead of absorbing it, which can have a dramatic effect on lowering the temperature under the roof. This is why your attic is usually quite hot, by the way.
Double-check to ensure you’re using paint intended for roofing. Even exterior house paint isn’t designed to withstand the weathering a roof will take. The paint should be able to hold up for at least a decade. And be sure to check the weather forecast before you paint. It can take as long as 24 hours for the thick paint to dry, so you won’t have to reapply in the event of rain.
If you’re in the market for a new roof, there’s a wide variety of options for materials that will keep your house cool, including solar panels, slate tiling, metal and asphalt shingles. Also, these options are relatively inexpensive. To understand more about the best choice for your home, consider consulting a roofing service.
For your exterior walls, you can consider a lighter-colored vinyl siding that can help deflect heat. There are a few advantages here, such as cost effectiveness, low maintenance, and longevity.
Some creative landscaping can also help in keeping your home cool in the summer. If there’s an area of your house that heats up more than others, consider planting shrubs to block it out. There are several varieties that provide cover. Some of the most popular are hydrangeas, camellia and rhododendrons. Some types of bamboo can also be used for this purpose, but some types of bamboo spread fairly stubbornly — even onto neighboring properties in some cases.
You can also plant trees to provide shade for your home. Choosing the best trees for this purpose will depend on what grows best in your region. Evergreen trees are always a good idea, especially if you need to create a hedge as well. Certain types of oak trees can grow fast and offer plenty of protection from the heat. Weeping willow trees are also effective at shading your home and they’re also beautiful. When considering which tree is best for your situation, also remember that it’s a good idea to choose a tree that’s relatively easy to maintain.
6. Flooring Ideas
Even the right flooring can help in keeping your home cool in the summer.
If you live in a consistently warm climate, flooring such as concrete, vinyl tiles and porcelain. In Florida, for example, terrazzo floors, which are a type of concrete flooring, are very popular in houses built in the 1960s, and the climate is a big reason why. These types of floors also tend to be easy to maintain as well. Not everyone spends a lot of time sitting on their floors, but if you’re playing a board game for example, on a hard surface, a floor rug or mat can help with comfort.
If the idea of hard flooring doesn’t work for you, or if you’d like to avoid it in your bedrooms, carpeting can also help in keeping your home cool in the summer. While wood flooring is often considered a popular choice for homeowners, it can warp under consistent heat. Placing carpet in this situation would help protect the wood and provide insulation. The thicker the carpet, the better it is for retaining heat.
7. Kitchen Solutions
One place that always generates heat in your house is the kitchen. Recent research suggests that 82% of people who complete a kitchen renovation have a greater desire to stay at home. Cooling that space during the course of those updates will go a long way towards keeping your home cool in the summer. There’s likely to be a mess at the end of your project, so remember to dispose properly of the debris. Dumpster rentals are a convenient way to get rid of the trash. The cost will vary based on the size you’ll need.
Switching out your lighting fixtures is a good start. Switching out incandescent lights will help save energy. You can use LED lights to save energy, or consider covering your lighting with transparent plastic ceiling tiles.
Believe it or not, your refrigerator can sometimes be a source of unwanted heat in your kitchen. If the coils are overly frozen, it can be warm to the touch. If you notice this, don’t just let it go. It’s a sign that there’s something wrong with your fridge and you might need a visit from a plumbing repair specialist.
Other remedies to cool your kitchen is to limit the use of your stovetop and oven, the sources of most heat in kitchens. Consider countertop options instead, such as a microwave or toaster oven. And when you do use your stove, overhead fans can be useful for cooling down the area.
There are many creative solutions available to keeping your home cool in the summer. Some solutions are simple to carry out, while others might require the help of professionals. Keep in mind, however, that the work done on your home might be covered by homeowners insurance, so consider that in the decision-making process.