Simple tips for passive cooling in a house with out air conditioning. Passive cooling is a great way to cool your home without an air conditioning unit or, if you do have an AC unit, it can help you save on your monthly energy bill. This natural form of air conditioning can be done with a variety of techniques including taking advantage of nighttime breezes, sealing leaks in your home, and installing energy efficient window coverings. Here are our favorite tips for keeping your home cooler during the hot summer months.
Smart Window Treatments
One of the best, easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce heat from coming into your home is to choose energy efficient window treatments. There are a multitude of styles and options that will allow you to have window treatments that fit your home’s style and help keep you cool. Blackout curtains and fabric shades are some of the most effective options for keeping out hot sunlight. If you want blinds, choose wider slats as it will lessen the amount of sunlight that filters through. Or, for a more upscale option, choose plantation shutters with wide slats. Curtains and shades lined with a white fabric on the back and light colored blinds and shutters will also help to reflect sunlight back outside.
Help shade your windows from hot sunlight with outdoor treatments and coverings such as solar shades, awnings, outdoor curtains or sails. Not only will it help shade your home from the heat of the sun’s rays, but it will also keep your outdoor areas cooler and more enjoyable.
Energy Efficient Windows
Consider upgrading your home’s windows to double or triple pane windows. These more insulated windows will help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Also, consider getting windows that are tinted to help keep out the hot sunlight. If you can’t afford new windows, be sure to check all of your windows for leaks, sealing them with caulk if needed.
A well-insulated home not only keeps your home warmer in the winter but cooler in the summer. During the summer, insulation helps keep heat from your roof, attic and walls from seeping into your home. If your home is older, it may be time to replace your insulation. Or, consider adding additional insulation to what you already have.
Cool Colors and Materials Make a Difference
The color of the exterior of your home can also affect the inside temperature of your home. Darker colors absorb the sun’s heat while lighter colors reflect it. Test paint colors on your home before selecting your final color. Stucco is a great insulator from summer heat and cold winter weather that will make a difference on your energy bill. If you have the ability to upgrade the exterior of your home to stucco, not only will it help keep you cooler in the summer, but it will also add more curb appeal to your home!
A Good Foundation
Take into consideration the thermal mass (ability to absorb and retain heat) of your flooring material. Tiles and polished concrete have a higher thermal mass, meaning they hold onto heat and cold for longer. Be sure to install these types of flooring in the right place, away from direct sunlight. Wood flooring on the other hand has a low thermal mass, plus it looks great and is easy to clean!
Switch it Around
Heat rises, so switch your vents around when you turn on your AC for the summer. To do this, close the vents on your lower floor to force air upstairs, helping to cool your upper level more. The reverse can be done for the winter. When you turn your heat on for the cooler months, open your lower level vents and close off some of your upper level vents to help force warm air down.
Mother Nature’s Helping Hand
If you have a particular window that receives a lot of sunlight, consider planting a tree or a tall shrub in front of the window to help filter some of the sun’s rays. Make sure that you don’t plant your tree or shrub too close to the home as that can damage your foundation and take into account the size to which the tree or shrub will grow to. Deciduous trees and shrubs are a great option as their leaves will shade you in the summer but will also allow more warming sunlight into your home during the winter after their leaves fall off.