How To Reduce Cooling Needs

Have some redecorating in mind, or possibly a bigger and more extensive home improvement project?

If so, then it is essential that you consider the effects of the sun and solar energy on your home.

All things considered, there’s really not much you can do about the general orientation of your house anymore at this point, but you can manage the features so that the solar energy doesn’t send your cooling bills skyrocketing.

Always be sure to close blinds on the side of the house where the sun is striking if your home is hot during warm months. Unless you have low-e windows that block the sunlight as it passes through glass, which is actually converted to heat if you don’t have one, your home will be much cooler if the sunlight is stopped at the window. So that your home stays warmer in winter and cooler in summer, low-e windows reflect the heat back toward its source because they are double paned and contains a thin metallic coating that blocks some of the UV and infrared light.

Blinds on sun drenched windows should be installed or replaced if you don’t have them or have a bad one currently installed. With just a screwdriver, installing mini blinds is awfully easy. Measuring the width of your windows, both the glass and the entire frame, would be the first step. You can purchase blinds that are a little wider to fit the frame but at the very least you can buy one that is as wide as the glass portion of the window. They’re an inexpensive way to keep out the heat, avoid ordering custom blinds.

Perhaps your house faces west and you’re baked by the evening sun streaming through your front windows, as many homes have more or larger windows in the front. Blinds might leave you feeling claustrophobic even if they keep out the sunlight and most of the heat, especially if the living area is in front of the house.

You have two choices that can help make your living space more fun if you own a covered front porch. Installing outdoor blinds on your porch is one cheap fix and it keeps the sun out of the windows and off the front wall as well. You may also consider extending, if you currently have a smaller porch, further from the house so that the porch roof provides shade for the front of the house during the hottest times of the day.

You can do the same thing for your back porch if it is also sunny there. Consider installing an awning for decks and patios, which don’t offer any shade, even when it’s needed. Retractable awnings, which can provide protection from rain or sun when desired, or be tucked against the house to allow the sun in and avoid damaging winds, are growing in popularity. Fixed awnings are also an option, if you want the area covered all the time.

Awnings are also an option for shading windows and doors where solar heating is a problem and can be color coordinated with metal roofs, shutters, or trim to cut cooling expenses by as much as 20 percent.

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