When summer heat hits, we want nothing more than to crank the air conditioning as high as possible and soak up the cool air. Unfortunately, that AC is costly and drives up your electric bill. There are some home upgrades you can make that will keep you home cooler without the high AC that will save you money in the long run.
Just like dark colored clothing makes us feel warmer, a dark roof will make your house feel hotter too. A dark roof absorbs heat from the sun, and can enough of them in one area can make the whole neighborhood feel hotter than it is. Installing a cool roof—a roof that reflects more sunlight and doesn’t retain as much heat—is a great option. While you can do this with simply having a lighter colored roof, there are other, more high-tech roofing options that can keep your house cooler, as well. Adding a reflective coating to your roof will help drive sunlight and heat away. You should also make sure your roof and attic are well ventilated and insulated to keep the cool air from leaking out and prevent warm air from getting in.
Summer sunlight streaming through the windows may look beautiful, but it makes your home very hot, especially if you have west-facing windows taking in the afternoon sun. You can make small adjustments, such as adding interior curtains, shades or blinds, but you can also make some bigger adjustments to lower your AC use even further. High-reflectivity film covers reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of heat that comes through windows. Mesh window screens added to the exterior of your house will also diffuse the light coming through, and are very effective on east- and west-facing windows.
An exterior awning over west- and south-facing windows can reduce the heat coming through windows by as much as 77 percent according to the Department of Energy. Installing a retractable one will allow the sunlight in during the winter months when you want to warm your house naturally, as well.
While these treatment and upgrades may seem like a big expense up front, they can reduce your AC use and utility bills summer after summer for years to come.