Summer is here and the heat has been turned up. At this point, you’re probably already blasting the AC and still wishing it were cooler. What if someone told you there was a way to cool down your home without using the AC? Would you believe it? If you answered no, you’d be like most everyone; however, it’s true.
There are ways you can cool down your St. Louis home without using the AC. Here are some ideas to keep your home more energy efficient while you stay cool this summer, without the AC.
The first step to protecting your home from the heat is to block the solar heat coming in the windows. How can you do that? In the morning, focus on the east and south facing sides of the house. Close all the windows and be sure all curtains or blinds are covering them. This will help block the sun’s direct rays into the house. In the afternoon, do the same with north and west facing windows. This will ensure you can have some windows open without having the sun’s rays heating up your home.
Adding more insulation to your attic can help protect your Missouri home from the heat. Most homes already have a good amount of insulation throughout, but many people don’t realize your attic floor needs insulation too. The easiest way to keep the rooms of your home cooler is to add insulation to the floor of your attic. There are DIY options that make this task easy. Simply purchase unfaced batts of fiberglass or mineral wool insulation along the floor. They should be directly on top of, but perpendicular to the existing insulation.
Ceiling fans are a great way to add to the coolness of your home. Whether it’s a ceiling fan, a stand fan, or a box fan they help. Fans assist in moving the stale air out of the room and help provide a cooler area to relax in. Many don’t realize these fans are capable of helping remove the stale air and push the cooler air from the windows through the room. If placed appropriately, fans can pull the outside air in through the open windows (depending on the time of day) and aid in keeping the room cooler.
The best way to keep St. Louis homes from heating up is by not cooking with the oven. Turning on an oven will heat up your home no matter what time of year it is. In the winter, this is great for ensuring the house stays warm. However, in the summer, this can be cause for more heat than you bargained for. Find ways to cook outside or use a crockpot or toaster oven. This will help avoid any excess heat you shouldn’t be fighting to avoid.
Update Your Windows
If your windows are in good shape and don’t need to be replaced, consider updating them to assist in keeping excess heat out. This can be done in a lot of ways. One way involves checking for air leaks. If your windows have air leaks, caulking and weatherstripping them can help. If there aren’t any leaks, try adding window treatments, such as curtains or blinds. Sometimes they need a simple touch to help protect the home from heat.
Another option for updating your windows is to use storm windows or panels to protect your windows from weathering. You can also use solar control film over the glass to keep excess sunlight out. Some choose exterior shade over the windows, such as awnings or outdoor blinds, to assist in keeping the sunlight and solar heat from entering the house.
Replace Your Windows
If they’re too bad for repairs, try replacing your windows. Assuming this is the route you take, you’ll need to verify a few options before purchasing new windows. First, you’ll need to decide on frame types and glazing. The frame is important because you’ll need it to fit the existing space without too much modifying. Glazing is a way to ensure the safety of the glass once it’s been installed.
Another important aspect is space filler. If your windows have any gaps, it’s important to protect them from the elements and any bugs that might want to sneak in. You have the option here for gas filler or spacers. Everyone has a personal choice, but it’s important to research both before making a decision. The final option is operation type.
The window can be decorative and not open at all, or it can have a way to open. Once you’ve chosen that you can move on to how you want it to open (if you chose this route). Windows can open up, out, to the side, or in. Depending on what you prefer, any choice will work depending on the type of home and space available for the window.
One of the best ways to protect your home from the heat is window treatments. These options come in an array of styles, colors, designs, and even work on an indoor or outdoor basis. They work to provide a covering for your windows to help block the solar heat during the morning or afternoon, depending on where the sun may be.
You have a choice of interior or exterior window treatments and there are an array of choices within each of these categories. Both options are helpful for protecting against the sun, but they aren’t always the right choice for you personally. It’s important to do your research and know what options are best for you.
The name says it all; these window treatments are focused on use inside the home to protect from solar heat and harmful sun rays. These options of interior treatments are the top choices for most homeowners:
• Insulated cellular shades
• Window quilts
• Roller/Roman shades
• Curtains and drapes
• Window films
Insulated Cellular Shades
This option for indoor treatments provides protection from the sun in a different way. They are made from pleated materials that are designed to act as an accordion when folding. Typically, they are attached to the top or bottom of the window and contain a honeycomb-like pattern for air layers. Some of these can be automated or slide from the side instead of the top or bottom. They are said to be insulated through the honeycomb patterns and aid in keeping the heat in or out, depending on the time of year.
Window quilts fit snuggly to the frame and are generally held in place with Velcro or snaps. They roll or unroll to open or close over the window. This version of treatment is created by a sheet of quilted material that costs less than cellular shades, but works in the same way.
This option is generally inexpensive and works on a roller bar or some form of rope holding them on either side. They fit inside the window casing and open or close by being pushed or pulled from the bottom or top. When pushed up, they are folded into even stacks of material that sits at the top of the window. These are seen a lot in RVs and campers. Because of their thin material, they aren’t meant for insulation so much as privacy or blocking sunlight.
Blinds can be vertical or horizontal and are most effective with keeping summer heat out. They aren’t very efficient at protecting against winter heat loss. The slats of the blinds can be adjusted to control glare, light, and solar heat gain in the summer. If completely closed and lowered, blinds can aid in reducing heat gain within the home. Blinds have an array of options that allow you to block what you need to and let in the rest.
Curtains and Drapes
Curtains and drapes can be made of an array of fabrics that attach to a curtain rod above the window. These options can reduce light and heat in the room and help you provide the coolest option for your home. Using curtains and drapes year round can help you keep the heat out in the summer and keep it from escaping in the winter. Curtains and drapes work on a multitude of different levels.
Use of window films can block heat while protecting against UV exposure and glare on the windows. They won’t block your views, which provides an opportunity to have the shades drawn in the summer. You’ll still be able to see out the window, the films will just protect against the heat and harmful rays.
There are three layers to a window film to aid in blocking the heat and harmful rays. These don’t include the tinting and blocking options available to add. While they do require extra care when cleaning your windows, it’s possible to keep them working and looking great year round. They are just as useful in the winter as they are in the summer.
Exterior Window Treatments
There’s a small group of window treatments you can install outside the windows that will also provide needed protection from solar heat and damaging rays. These exterior treatments are useful in many regards:
• Exterior shades and shutters
• Exterior solar window screens
Shutters and Shades
These options are usually made of a material similar to that of the home’s exterior. They are the most effective option for reducing solar heat in a home. Most of these options are manually operated but can have a crank, rod, or motor to assist in shutting them from the inside. It’s possible that the shades can be made of fabrics and act more like curtains than shutters.
An awning is similar to what you’d see on a camper or RV. It rolls out from the roof of the home and covers the windows to protect from the sun. Many people use these awnings as shade for their patios as well. They are adjustable and retractable to allow for proper positioning around the window. Ventilation is also a major component of window awnings because they can trap heat around the window if not properly vented.
Exterior Solar Window Screens
These look like typical window screens and can be installed inside or outside. They protect against solar heat, UV damages, and glare from the sun. There can be some flexibility with their openness; however, this could cause problems later with protection due to lack of coverage for the windows. Use of solar window screens also provides more efficiency benefits.
With so many options available for window treatments, you can absolutely protect your home from heat without cranking your AC to full blast. The air conditioner running so much can be less efficient and cause your bills to rise further than you’d like in your St. Louis home. With all these options for solar heat protections and suggestions for opening proper windows at a certain time of day, you can easily keep your AC use to a minimum.
It’s important to be sure your windows are in top shape and any treatments you choose are best for protection against solar heat and UV rays. Be sure you’re protecting yourself and your family in the summer. Allowing those harmful rays and all that heat into your home can cause problems in the long run. Don’t let those factors get to your family.
Windows, fans, and window treatments can be your best friend year round. It’s important to do your research and know what’s best for everyone involved. Find the right window repair/replacements for your needs. If your windows are in top shape, focus on fans and window treatments. There are so many options available to keep your home energy efficient, even in the summer months. Don’t let the summer heat and winter cold get you down. Look into your options for a cooler home this summer and see what you can do to keep your home cooler and more energy efficient.