When it feels more than 100 degrees outside, the last thing you want is to have that hot summer air entering your house and jeopardizing your indoor comfort.
While it may be tempting to run your air conditioner all day to escape the excessive heat, keeping your house cool this summer involves more than just replacing warm air with cold air in the main areas of your home. First, it can get really expensive; and second, it will be inefficient without good insulation.
Licensed contractor and home building expert Skip Bedell shares some of his best tips for improving energy efficiency at home and keeping your indoor space at a comfortable temperature.
His recommendation? Combine old-school better building with smart home innovations.
Skip Bedell’s tips to survive the summer heat:
1. Fill up the whole wall cavity with insulation
Lack of wall insulation is one of the leading causes of home energy loss. Insulating a cavity wall can help keep your house cool all summer long (it will also keep you warm when you need to retain heat in your house). Cavity wall insulation provides a thermal barrier against the outside temperature, slowing the heat from circulating inside your house. For a proper installation, you must fill the entire cavity smoothly, without gaps or bunching.
However, accessing the wall to remedy the situation isn’t always easy. One of the best times to tackle this problem is during a renovation project. It might also be a good time to check if your attic, ceiling, or floors are properly insulated.
Contact a professional to make sure cavity wall insulation is right for your home. For added protection, especially in areas of mixed-climate, use a vapor retarder like Membrain to seal the wall completely.
Should you insulate when you renovate? Find the answer for your project.
Do you need a vapor barrier? Three simple questions should give you your answer.
2. Invest in a thermostat with geo-location capabilities
The U.S Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are at home and active, but 78 degrees is not comfortable for everyone. Thermostats with motion detectors are a great option to customize cooling to your needs and help lower your energy bills significantly. These automatically adjust the temperature of your home–based on your movements–to help create the ideal temperature wherever you are. With a smart programmable thermostat, you do not need to run your AC all day or cool a room that is not being used. For maximum comfort and energy efficiency, set your thermostat temperature to be higher when you’re out; you can also program it to start cooling shortly before you return.
3. Go ductless
If your home wasn’t built with central air conditioning in mind, it can be messy and expensive to run ductwork throughout your home. Ductless splits–also called mini-splits–are an efficient alternative, using roughly 30 percent less energy than electric baseboard or forced air units. Smaller than traditional air conditioners, ductless systems can be the best fit for your home if you are looking to cool individual rooms or small spaces. Adding a ductless mini split system in your home can also help reduce energy losses and lower your energy costs in the long run.
Ductless systems highly depend on your home’s construction. For instance, larger houses will require ducted systems. Check these options if you need to enhance the thermal efficiency of your HVAC systems.
Consult with a qualified contractor to know the exact equipment your house needs.
4. Install more ceiling fans
Ceiling fans are still one of the most cost-effective ways to keep your house cool this summer. When it gets really hot outside, your ceiling fan can complement your air conditioner to help cool your house in a short amount of time. Running a ceiling fan with your air conditioner can help distribute cool air in different parts of the home, making your AC more efficient. We recommend turning your air conditioner up by four degrees for optimal efficiency.
If your house feels like an oven this summer, it might be time to check that your insulation is working properly. A properly insulated house can help you create a more comfortable indoor temperature while enjoying the constants of summer–grilling, family gatherings, or afternoons by the pool.
Consult with our qualified insulation contractors to find out what areas of your home need insulation, and what type of material will help you achieve optimal thermal comfort.
We’re always available to assist you with any questions you may have. Please let us know what you need: