If you want to keep your house cool this summer, there are many home improvements you can make. Fans, window treatments, landscaping … and, of course, air conditioning.
For starters, don’t neglect the maintenance and repair of your HVAC system! Proactive care of your AC will be one of your most important defenses against drowning in a pool of your own sweat indoors during the sweltering days of summer. But consider taking a multi-faceted approach to maintaining your cool in the face of the seasonal heat.
Methods for keeping cool during high temperatures
From classic box fans to oscillating models, you can create an interior breeze with products you can buy from any home improvement or big box store. However, also consider hiring a professional to install a more permanent solution — ceiling fans or attic fans.
Ceiling fans can double as light fixtures, and even be installed in outdoor hangout areas, like screened in porches or covered patios, to create a refreshing air currents. On the other hand, attic fans draw the hot air that accumulates in your attic and roof system outside, cooling the air inside.
Pro-tip: Only keep fans running when you’re at home — they are only effective when you’re there to enjoy the cool breeze.
Another way to keep your house cool is to close shades and curtains during hot summer days to reduce the effect of the sun’s heating rays on your home’s interior. If you don’t have window treatments, consider hanging some, especially in east- and west-facing windows. Awnings are an exterior window treatment that can also help keep heat out of your home.
If you have old, leaky windows, chances are you have trouble keeping chilled air indoors. And you’re probably paying a lot for AC (not to mention for heat in the winter!). Installing new windows is not a cheap home improvement project, but it can save you on HVAC costs in the long run — and improve your indoor air comfort!
Many homeowners don’t realize the potentially cooling properties of landscaping when planting their yards. Strategically placed trees, vines and shrubs can shield your home from the hot sun and keep cool air inside. Dark-colored paving materials also absorb heat, so consider replacing them with lighter materials or shading them.
Pro-tip: You can also shade your AC unit with a canopy of trees so it doesn’t work as hard to keep your home cool. But be sure to keep it free and clear of lawn debris with regular cleaning!
It’s a big project, but if you’re replacing your roof anyway, opt for lighter colored shingles or materials that absorb less heat. Reducing the heat your roof absorbs means the less your systems will have to work to keep your home cool.
AC maintenance and repair
Having your AC system manually serviced annually will ensure you don’t find yourself without cool air on the hottest day of summer. Scheduling an HVAC inspection before cooling season is a great idea. Your AC technician can point out any developing problems, such as components that are wearing out, and make sure your coolant is properly charged. In the case that you need a new AC, a professional can help ensure you have the right size system for your home.
Change the filter in your AC unit once a month during cooling season to ensure your unit runs efficiently.
It might seem like home insulation is there to keep your house warm, like a cozy sweater, but it also keeps cool air from escaping your home. Ask your auditor or an insulation pro about whether your home could benefit from additional wall or attic insulation.
If you don’t already have a thermostat you can program — or a smart thermostat — consider having one installed or install one yourself. This will help you save money, while regulating your home’s temperature. Many can be controlled by your phone, too, making it possible to cool down your home in advance of your return from summer vacation.
Pro-tip: Keep heat-generating appliances away from your thermostat so as not to skew the reading.
Schedule an energy audit to find out how else you could save energy and money, and keep your house cool during the summer. A professional can help you prioritize projects according to importance and budget.
Pro-tip: Your auditor can help identify parts of your home that have leaks, meaning places where AC is escaping during summer months, that might not be apparent.
If you need HVAC installation or repair services to keep your house cool this summer, contact the friendly technicians at John C. Flood for our Arlington HVAC repair services. John C. Flood serves the Alexandria, Virginia, community and surrounding areas.