Five Ways to Keep a House Cool
Moving the air through your home is an excellent way to reduce heat and can be as simple or as complicated as you want. The easiest way to take advantage of air movement is to open your windows in the morning and closing them during the day. Ceiling fans can help circulate your air. Attic vents allow the hot air to escape out of the attic, keeping your home cooler, but you can make this process even more efficient by adding an attic fan.
4 Cool Roofing
Lighter colored roofs reflect the sun’s rays away from the home in the same way that a white T-shirt keeps you cooler than a black one. You can take advantage of this by using light-colored shingles or painting your roof with special white latex paint made just for this purpose. You can also add a radiant barrier to the interior underside of the roof to keep heat out. A radiant barrier is a sheet of material that stops the movement of heat from outside your attic to the inside, kind of like insulation does. This helps to keep your attic, and thus your house, cool.
Plants aren’t just pretty; they can also be useful in keeping a home cool. Planting trees in front of west-, east- and south-facing windows helps keep the sun out, which can reduce temperatures inside your home. Vines also work great for keeping the heat out by shading your home’s exterior. Virginia creeper, wisteria and ivy are the champions in this category, but a word of warning: Keep vines away from the roof and widows because they will force their way into your home through any opening they find.
2 Shading Windows
Windows are a major enemy in the battle against the heat because they release cool air from the interior and allow heat to enter from outside. One of the best ways to keep out the heat is to cover the windows. Awnings and shutters on the exterior of the home provide a barrier between the sun’s rays and your home’s interior. Inside, use drapes that have a sun-barrier lining.
1 Mechanical Cooling
The grandaddy of all home cooling is mechanical cooling. Depending on the regional location of the home, mechanical cooling can include evaporative cooling, which is a device that uses the process of evaporation to cool the surrounding air, or the more common air conditioning. These methods are the gold standard for keeping a space comfortable, but they also take up a lot of power. Collectively, mechanical cooling accounts for a full 5 percent of the energy used in the United States.