Summer has officially gotten underway in Rhode Island. While Lil’ Rhodey is typically blessed with relatively mild summers, that doesn’t mean we don’t have stretches of oppressive heat and humidity. So, what’s an overheated Ocean Stater to do when summer gets sudorific, and Dell’s just doesn’t cut it? This week’s blog post will answer that question and explore how to keep your house cool during summer in cost-effective and simple ways. If you’re looking to beat the heat, keep reading for more!
One of our favorite things about Rhode Island summers is the refreshing ocean breezes. And those breezes not only shake our trees and fill our sails (“Moana,” anyone?) but also help cool our homes. By strategically opening windows in your home, you can create cross-drafts that allow fresh air to circulate and heat to escape. Opening windows during the evenings when it’s cooler and closing them in the mornings will also help keep indoor temperatures low without spending a ton on air conditioning. Used in tandem with ceiling fans, window fans, and whole-house fans will help magnify this effect too. Just make sure you have screens installed to keep out those pesky insects!
It’s no secret that windows can be a significant source of heat gain during summer. While this is great during the winter months, as southern-facing windows help to keep you warm, it’s not exactly what you’d want in mid-July. Consider installing window treatments like drapes, blinds, shades, and clings to minimize heat absorption. Solar shades, which reflect light, and cellular shades, which have a honeycomb design that creates insulating pockets of air, are great options that add a contemporary look to your home. Alternatively, adding traditional drapery to your windows can also help reduce heat transfer and offers an excellent opportunity to add color and style to your space. Whatever your tastes, it’s always good to hire an experienced designer like Red House Design Build to measure and properly install your window treatments accurately.
If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know we say it repeatedly: upgrading windows to modern, energy-efficient ones is one of the best things you can do for your home. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 25-30% of the energy used to heat and cool homes is lost through inefficient windows. That’s a lot! While we won’t go into depth here, if you’re interested in upgrading your home’s windows, check out our previous article, “Energy-Efficient Windows in Rhode Island.”
Like older windows, air leaks in your home can let warm air in and cool air out, causing your cooling system to work much harder than it needs to. Sealing small leaks and cracks around your windows, doors, and other fenestrations with weatherstripping and caulking will do wonders for this. Proper insulation also helps maintain comfortable temperatures indoors, so be sure your home has adequate insulation in your attic, walls, and basically, everywhere else. In Rhode Island, we’re lucky to have multiple programs, like RISE, that perform free energy audits to help homeowners identify ways to shore up their homes and become more energy efficient.
It might sound overly simple, but finding ways to shade the outside of your home can have a drastic effect on minimizing your cooling bills. There are various ways to do this, but affixing structures like awnings, pergolas, or sunshades are relatively simple projects that protect your home from direct sunlight. Have a green thumb? You can also get creative by introducing landscaping elements like trees, shrubs, or trellises to cast shade and reduce heat absorption. And that curb appeal!
Every home and homeowner is different, of course, but hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas on how to keep your house cool during summer. If you’d like to learn more about “chilling out” in your home or want to take a more tailored approach, Red House is always here for you. Give us a call or book an appointment today!