Most families in Texas spend hundreds of dollars a month keeping their home cool — and at this time of the year, Texas summer heat is about to go into overdrive. When temperatures are in the triple digits, how can you keep your home cool without emptying your wallet?
Working from the inside out, from your interiors to your attic to your roof, here are our top tips to help keep your home cool. With a little investment, you can help the expensive air-conditioned air stay inside and keep the Texas summer heatwave out.
Interior Tips To Keep Your Home Cool
Coming home at the end of a sweaty summer day, it is a joy to step into a fresh, cool home. Here’s how to do it.
Check Your Air Conditioner
AC compressors generally last 10 to 12 years, but regular maintenance can extend that life to 20 years. To get the best bang for your buck, you’ll need to do a few things.
- If your unit is so old that it’s inefficient, bite the bullet and get something with a better SEER ratio.
- Change your air filters regularly: at least twice a year, if not once a quarter or even monthly during the summer.
- Go DIY and clean your AC unit every spring. (Major manufacturers have instructions online for how to do this.)
- Every 3 to 5 years, have an HVAC technician come give it a tune-up and recharge the refrigerant, which can improve efficiency up to 20%.
Protect Your Windows
During the summer, about 75% of the sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows will enter your home as heat.
You can reflect this heat (and lower your energy costs) with blackout curtains or reflective curtains on your south- and west-facing window. For a more permanent solution, tinted window film can save you up to 7% on cooling costs, and will also help protect your furniture and art from UV fading damage.
Replace Your Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs waste 90% of the energy they use, giving it off as heat instead of light. If you haven’t already, switch to CFLs, which use about 75% less energy and emit 90% less heat.
Switch It Off
You might be surprised how much heat is generated by your home appliances. You’re probably not using your oven every day in August, but what about your dishwasher and your washer-dryer? Try using them every other day and/or setting them to run after the sun has set.
A ceiling fan doesn’t lower the temperature, but it can make a room feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler by moving air across the microscopic moisture on your skin. Make sure to set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise in the summer, so it pulls cooler air from the ground towards the ceiling.
Attic Tips To Keep Your Home Cool
Your roof and attic form a protective layer that insulates your home against the sun’s relentless heat. A well-maintained attic shouldn’t get more than 10 to 20 degrees hotter than the world outside, so your first step is to buy a quality attic thermometer. (That’s not an affiliate link; we just think it’s a reliable thermometer.)
If you discover that your attic is soaring over 100 towards 150 at the height of Texas summer, there are some easy home maintenance fixes that will keep your home cooler and save you money.
Better Attic Insulation
A radiant barrier in your attic will reflect radiant heat rather than absorbing it. In fact, a radiant barrier can reflect up to 97% of solar radiation, reducing your attic temperature up to 30 degrees and reducing cooling costs by up to 17%.
Better Attic Ventilation
Good attic ventilation is essential, as air moves through the attic and keeps it cool. Check your vents and fans to ensure they’re all in good working order.
Also, if your humidity levels consistently reach 70%, consider installing a dehumidifier. An attic that stays overly humid for days or weeks on end can lead to leaks and structural problems, and condensation can cause dry rot, mold or deterioration in wooden beams or floors and damage to your existing insulation.
Roof Tips To Keep Your Home Cool
Are your energy bills through the roof? That’s not just a saying — with subpar materials and inadequate installation methods, roofs can be the least energy-efficient part of your house.
When it’s time to replace your roof, the colors and materials you choose can make a big difference to your future energy bills.
Choose Lighter Colors For Your Roof….
The heat absorbed by your roof on a sunny day can cause temperatures to raise inside your home. Just as we know to avoid wearing a black t-shirt to a tailgate, the same applies to the roof on your home.
Lighter colored roofs can reflect 80-90% more sun light than darker shades, reducing your energy bills by 10-20%. They also reduce the roof’s temperature, which can extend the lifespan of the roof.
While a lighter colored roof will inherently be more heat reflective than a darker color, some dark roofs are still energy efficient. Look for ENERGY-Star rated roofs to make sure your roof reflects heat rather than absorbing it.
……Unless You Have The Right Roofing Material
While asphalt composition shingles have been the standard for decades, new metal roofing options are incredibly durable (lasting 50 years or more!) as well as being much more energy efficient.
Metal roofs reflect solar radiant heat, which can reduce cooling costs by 10-25%. And by emitting as much as 85 percent of solar heat gain to help keep homes cooler, even darker color metal roofs will help lower home temperatures during sizzling summer weather.
Get a “Cool” Roof!
Green certificate programs such as LEED, Energy Star, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Department of Energy Building Technology Program base their respective cool-roof credentials on a roofing material’s ability to reflect the sun and release absorbed heat.
When you’re ready for a new roof, give us a call. Designer Roofing is expert at installing premium residential roofs that will help keep your home cool for years to come.