Ways to Keep Your Home Cool During Summer Heat Waves

The heat of summer can really slow you down, especially when heat waves can bring temperatures into the nineties and higher. Because the local climate is generally so mild, many older San Diego homes aren’t properly sealed and insulated to handle those times when temperatures soar.

Modifying your heating and air conditioning system is one surefire way to create better control over your home’s interior temperatures. And even if you’re without air conditioning, there are some affordable tactics you can implement to keep your house cool when it’s hot out.

If you already have air conditioning…

Even homes with air conditioning may have problems beating the heat when the temps are high. If your home isn’t cool unless the air conditioning is running, and/or you have sky-high energy bills in July and August, redoing your home’s HVAC ducting and adding insulation in the attic are two improvements that can make a big difference in both energy bills and interior temperatures.

HVAC Ducting: Did you know that up to 40% of your central air can be lost on its way to the output registers, because of outdated or faulty ducting? Repairing or replacing a leaky duct system will make your central air conditioning run at a much higher capacity, so the home stays cool longer and the system isn’t running as often or for as long.

Attic insulation: An attic without the proper level of insulation or the right ventilation acts just like a heat trap over your home: it absorbs heat easily and doesn’t allow it to escape. The best trick to keeping your house cool is to keep the heat out in the first place, and attic insulation provides a barrier against the hot sun. The right ventilation system will help move warmer air out of your attic, keeping the space and the rest of your home cooler.

Exterior wall insulation and windows: Many older homes have inefficient, single-pane windows and also lack the proper level of exterior wall insulation. Although these fixes require an initial investment, they add value to your home and continue to provide a return on your investment indefinitely, through significantly lower energy costs and improved comfort.

If you don’t have air conditioning…

If you’re without AC, don’t fret. There are still a number of measures you can take to beat the interior heat, in addition to the ideas mentioned above. Adding attic insulation and ventilation, replacing old windows, and improving exterior wall insulation will all help keep your home cool without air conditioning, and you’ll be happily surprised at your wintertime energy savings too.

Open and close your house up at the right times. San Diego cools down at night, giving us a much-needed break from the heat. Keep your home ventilated at night, and close it up for the day as soon as the exterior temperature exceeds the interior one.

Create air circulation. Moving hot air is cooler than stagnant hot air. If your home doesn’t have ceiling fans, invest in an electric fan for each room in the home.

Install a sun shade.An exterior shade over a sunny window helps prevent solar energy from heating your home like a greenhouse.

Plant a living sun shade.Planting fast-growing, drought-tolerant plants, shrubs, and trees in front of sunny windows will provide a natural barrier from the sun that helps keep your home shady and pleasant. After summer’s heat, the right plants will lose their leaves and allow the sun back in.

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