When it’s summer, your home should act as a safe haven, a cool oasis to avoid overbearing heat. But keeping your space cool when temperatures reach above 80 degrees isn’t easy. Even with good blinds and landscaping that creates shade — when the sun comes in, it stays in.
“The goal is to get your system under control, because no matter the season, you’re playing with a temperature differential,” says Troy Zdzieblowski, Neil Kelly Home Improvement Consultant. “Hot air is going to want to get to where it’s cold, like inside your house. If it’s cold outside, the hot air inside your house is going to try and escape. That’s the way the physics go. As a homeowner it’s crucial to eliminate the communication between the two.”
Your home and all the workings inside of it are a system. This system is defined by boundaries, both inside and outside elements, that affect just how hot or how cool your home can be. To control those boundaries, you need to create a unified comfort control system. Here’s how you do it.
Air sealing your home.To protect the building shell of your home you need to figure out where air is coming from and moving to. Hint: if you see spiderwebs, start there (spiders build webs where no air moves). The best method to check air leaks is through a blower door test which measures how much air is moving in your house. Once it’s measured, you can control the clean air coming in.
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Insulate, correctly. Insulation is only as good as the air sealing. Think of your house as a box, even if it’s a Victorian home with a million nooks and crannies. From there, insulate the attic, walls and underfloor of your home for the best energy efficiency. By only insulating the attic, for example, you’ll create hot and cool spots within your home.
Install a ductless mini split system. These high-tech units are incredibly efficient and allow you to heat and cool zones of your house all at once. Before you install, take the time to create the best design possible and size it perfectly to your home.
Update with low-E windows. A window expert will help you choose between vinyl, fiberglass or wood, and can walk you through energy efficient packages to keep the sun out. Focus on U-values, which measure how effective a material acts as an insulator, and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), which is the solar radiation admitted through a window through direct transmission and absorption, and then released into your home.
Understand how your home works. Knowledgeable homeowners get the most bang for their buck. Be aware of your household habits, like what part of the day you like to open the windows. With these in mind, learn the inner workings of your heating/cooling system to ensure you’re using it right.
Following an energy consultation, these best practices can be accomplished in just a few short weeks or as quick as five days for smaller homes. So get going. You’ve got a summer to enjoy. Make your home energy efficient and cool this summer by scheduling a consultation with our home performance specialists.