Do you hate those blazing hot summer days when your home feels like an oven, no matter how low you set the thermostat? All that heat from the sun beating down on the roof makes your AC work overtime, trying to keep things cool indoors. Isn’t that a total waste of energy and money?
Luckily, there are several ways you can reduce your energy bill regardless of the season. The idea is pretty simple. For instance, by using more reflective materials on your roof, you can prevent sunlight from turning your roof into a 400-degree skillet. This keeps the heat from radiating into your attic and living spaces.
Below are some more ways to make sure your exterior does its best to keep your desired temperature indoors:
Consider Cool Roofing
During hot summer months, heat absorbed by your roof can transfer into the attic and living spaces. This increases cooling loads as your AC works harder to maintain comfortable temperatures. However, installing cool roofing is an effective solution for reducing solar heat gain.
Cool roofs reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than traditional dark roofs. Two options for cool roofing include:
- Reflective coatings – this can bounce back much of the sunlight. Just painting on this type of coating is an easy, low-cost way to cool down your existing roof.
- Cool roofing materials – you can replace your current roofing materials entirely with new high-reflectance materials designed to stay cool. Think white metal roofing, white membrane roofing, and reflective tiles – anything that has a lighter color and properties to reflect sunlight rather than soaking it up.
Proper insulation below the roof is also key to prevent heat transfer. You can also consult a qualified roofing company on the best cool roofing options for your climate and home.
According to the EPA, cool roofs can lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50 degrees! This will give your AC much relief and also save 10-15% on cooling costs over the hot summer months.
Increase Insulation Levels
If your home lacks sufficient insulation, it’s like trying to heat and cool the outdoors. You can easily fix one of the biggest energy drains by beefing up your insulation. Focus first on the attic, walls, and basement or crawl space – areas where it’s easiest for heat to escape.
Upgrading insulation makes a huge impact because it acts like a thermal protection for your home. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation resists heat flow. Older homes often have extremely low R-values, so make sure to level up to R-30 in the attic and R-13 in the walls, as this will allow you to lock in cool air and save up on bills.
Also, don’t be tempted to do it yourself unless you’re an expert. Improper installation will be more damaging. To get the full payoff, have a professional handle adding insulation like blown-in fiberglass or cellulose. They have the know-how to customize the project for maximum energy savings in your unique home. Do it right the first time, and then watch your energy bills drop when your HVAC isn’t working overtime. Cozy comfort with lower utility costs is a win-win strategy!
Seal Air Leaks
Want to easily slash your energy bills by up to 15%? Stop letting costly heated and cooled air whistle through hidden cracks and gaps in your home’s exterior.
It’s not the giant holes letting out conditioned air but the tiny cracks you can’t even see. Around windows, doors, pipes, wires, vents, and in the attic – air is sneaking out and wasting your money. Don’t ignore those drafts!
Tackle the air leaks by:
- Caulking inside and out to seal every crack and crevice you can find (be really careful around corners and where siding meets brick).
- Foaming penetrations made by plumbing, electrical, vents, fans, etc., to fill the spaces.
- Weatherstripping doors and windows so the air has no escape route.
- Adding gaskets to attic hatches and fireplace dampers to snuff out drafts.
- Sealing any foundation cracks that let air (and critters!) in from the ground.
It’s a small task, but sealing air leaks is one of the fastest dollar-saving tactics out there. Stop the air loss, and you can breathe easy knowing your HVAC isn’t cranking away for nothing.
Windows can be a major source of heat loss and gain in homes, but if you feel drafts and see condensation, your windows are robbing you of energy savings.
The best fix is to replace drafty old windows with new high-performance models. Look for ENERGY STAR-certified windows with super low U-factors and solar heat gain coefficients. Features like multi-panes, gas fills, low-E coatings, and insulated frames prevent heat from flowing in and out.
New windows stop wasted energy in its tracks. Going from single pane to double or triple pane with low-E coatings can cut heat loss by 50% or more. Along with sealing air leaks, new windows should be high on your home improvement priority list.
But if you can’t swing full replacement, no sweat. Affordable temporary solutions like interior storm windows or DIY window film kits will also do the job. Storm windows create an extra insulating air space to hold in heat. And window film adds a layer of protection to filter UV rays.
Consider Radiant Barriers
If you live in a hot climate, your attic can turn into a scorching heatbox in summer. All that heat radiates down into your living spaces and kicks your AC into overdrive.
Installing a radiant barrier in your attic reflects heat instead of soaking it up. Radiant barriers work by bouncing solar radiation away before it can transfer heat to the insulation and your home. Just a thin reflective layer can lower cooling costs by 17%!
The key is proper installation. Radiant barriers made of aluminum foil or reflective membranes need an air gap to reflect heat away from the insulation. Allow ventilation space so heat doesn’t get trapped.
A professional can make sure it’s done right. And it’s most effective in hot climates where you run the AC for months on end. So, stop getting roasted by a blistering attic; a radiant barrier keeps the temperature cooler to keep your energy bills from skyrocketing.
With some DIY projects and assistance from experts, you can transform the exterior of your home into an energy-efficient, comfortable shell. The improvements will provide benefits for years to come in the form of lower energy bills and reduced environmental impact. Use this guide to make upgrades that best suit your home and climate to maximize savings.