At some point, you probably have received an envelope in the mail that was sealed so tight you had to use a pair of scissors to rip it open. Wouldn’t it be great, especially this summer, if your home’s envelope was sealed just as securely?
You will never be able to stop warm, outdoor air from trying to seep into your home; it’s going to happen no matter what you do. But you can make your home as cool as possible by taking four proactive steps: sealing your windows and doors; installing insulation; hanging sun-blocking window treatments; and using ceiling fans in tandem with your air conditioner.
Reinforce Your Envelope
Like many homeowners, you may have reconciled yourself to the fact that warm air naturally rises. But you may not know warm air also is determined to “chase” after cooler space. “During the summer, heat moves from outdoors to the house interior,” the U.S. Department of Energy says.
Warm air will eventually find a point of entry through a home’s envelope – a builder’s term that refers to a home’s attic and roof, subfloor, windows, exterior walls and doors. To combat this force of nature:
- Inspect your windows and doors for cracks, gaps and holes, but don’t rely on a visual inspection alone. Wait for a day with no outdoor breeze and run a lighter or feather around the perimeter. If the flame or feather flutters, a leak is present. Seal movable components with weather-stripping and stationary components with caulk, the Department of Energy There are many other places your home could be serving as a passageway for warm air (think of all the openings for wires and vents), so consult this handy guide for help in tracking them down.
- Insulate your home. Follow a “top-down” strategy and begin with the attic – a prime place for heat to congregate. Then work your way down the envelope, ensuring walls, ceilings, crawl space and basement contain both enough insulation and the proper R-value, or the amount of thermal resistance. Sometimes, there is more to installing insulation than may meet the eye. Since a properly insulated home could reduce your energy bills by 15 percent or more, it’s worth doing right and calling the professionals.
- Evaluate your window treatments. They should be closed during the day to block heat from entering (yes, even if your windows are sealed like a submarine). Since the full force of the afternoon sun may be no match for lightweight treatments, consider quilted window treatments or those with an insulating liner to block the heat.
- Run a ceiling fan in tandem with your air conditioner to create a wind-chill effect in a room, which should allow you to bump the temperature on the thermostat by 4 degrees without feeling one bit warmer. The higher temperature will save you money on your energy bill.
The Top Cooling Tip : Get Your Air Conditioner Tuned-Up
Of course, now is also the time to ensure your air conditioner is clean and running in peak condition so it doesn’t break down. Then again, with a preventive maintenance membership, you’ll never even have to give the subject a second thought. Call us at (702) 385-2665 for an annual tune-up and to safeguard one of the biggest financial investments you’ve made in your home.