10 tips to insulate your home from the summer heat
Extreme summer temperatures put our homes to the test. When these dates arrive we suffer in our meats what implies to have a home badly isolated or with problems of ventilation and refrigeration. Whether your home is a furnace or your electric bill goes through the roof with the air conditioning, these tips will help you save sweat.
1. Double glazed windows
Windows are the part of the building where most energy loss occurs, so double glazing will be a good ally for thermal comfort in the home. The use of glass that has low thermal transmission and low solar factor (ratio between the energy entering a room through the glass and the solar energy that affects the outer surface of the glass perpendicularly), or window profiles with thermal break, also help considerably.
On the other hand, check the strips of the window seals because they deteriorate over time. If they come off easily or you can feel the wind coming through the closed window, they may need to be replaced. You can change them yourself if you remove them with hot water and clean them well before putting in the new ones. Avoid direct sunshine on the windows as much as possible. External blinds or awnings will also help you to keep the house insulated.
2. Ventilate in the mornings and evenings
Ventilate in the mornings and evenings when the temperature drops. It is also advisable to ventilate during the day if your home has cross ventilation, which basically consists of the natural ventilation of the house generating natural currents by opening opposite windows at the same time.
However, pay attention to the predominant direction of the winds and which facades are exposed to the sun in order to avoid the air entering being warmer than the air leaving.
3. Isolate the floor
Floors are a source of energy loss in buildings that can easily reach values of 15%, especially those in contact with the ground, the outside or unheated premises such as garages or warehouses. There are materials that, in a renovation, help to improve the insulation of the floors, such as dry floors that incorporate thermal insulation in their boards, considerably reducing energy losses. They can be laid quickly and easily without the need for drying times in the installation, as their name suggests.
Another possibility is raised floors, which create an air chamber that acts as a thermal insulator. They are also easy to install because they usually consist of modular plates, which allows them to be easily interchanged. Although it is a more frequent solution in offices or premises, it is being installed in more and more homes, as long as their free height allows it, depending on the minimum limits established by the urban development regulations of the area.
4. Use weatherstripping on doors
The doors also act as insulation between different apartments in the house and to the outside. You will noticeably improve their performance if you adjust their closure through weatherstripping, flexible strips of insulating material that you can install yourself. They are quite economical and give good results. It is important that the main door of the house has insulating properties, especially if it faces directly outwards.
As regards interior doors, the criterion of keeping them open or closed has its pros and cons, so it will not be easy to have a general protocol for action. A wide thermal jump between different areas, between rooms or bedrooms, is very uncomfortable and unhealthy. With this premise as a basis, if there is only air conditioning in the room, for example, it may be interesting to have the doors open while if there are several refrigerated rooms it may be convenient to close them to make the different needs independent.
5. Minimizes the use of lights and electrical appliances
It is not recommended to turn on lights to avoid the penumbra caused by excessive heat when preventing the sun’s access through the windows. Not only will you be emitting more heat, but you will also have to pay more in your electricity bill. Let enough light through the slits in the blinds. You can open the interior curtains, because they are not good insulators and prevent light from passing through. If you have multi-bulb lamps, you can remove one or only turn on table lamps. The best technical solution may be a system that makes use of natural light and regulates the level of illumination according to the amount of natural light.
Household appliances also emit heat. Especially the oven, dishwasher, washing machine or dryer. It is better if you use them at the hours of lower air temperature and when you do not have to stay in the kitchen. Using highly energy-efficient appliances will help you save money.
6. Keep the air conditioner at around 26º
Proper use of air conditioning can result in savings of up to 30% on your electric bill. Keep a constant temperature around 26º. For every degree of cold, the energy expenditure shoots up between 6 and 8%. At home, wear light clothing.
The maintenance of the installation is also important. Dust or foreign objects in the filters and air inlets and outlets worsen the performance of the equipment. After eight to ten years, you should think about renewing it if you notice that the performance of the equipment clearly decreases.
7. Optimizes the use of hot water
In summer it is common to reduce the consumption of hot water, especially in the shower. Even so, it is inevitable that for some household tasks such as washing the dishes, putting in washing machines or dishwashers, hot water is used.
This can lead to an increase in the interior temperature if the pipes in the house are old or poorly insulated, due to the overheating that occurs when the hot water passes through the pipes.A good system of insulation in the pipe network not only helps to maintain the desired temperature, but also allows for a more efficient use of energy, since less heat energy is wasted, which can lead to savings that are also worth considering. On the other hand, the use of solar energy to produce domestic hot water produces initial investments or expenses that are recovered in the short term.
8. Surround yourself with plants
The water, as it evaporates, lowers the temperature of the room. Take advantage of this resource that nature gives you and, if you have a terrace or garden, watering it will help you reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees. Using species adapted to the climate of the place will allow you not to consume too much water for irrigation.
If your home does not have a large space outside that can be soaked, one solution may be to place plants and flower pots on the windows, which, by absorbing the sun’s rays, will create a film of coolness that the air will spread throughout the room in which it is located. As a comment, flowering plants perspire more through their leaves than those without.
Planting vines also works very well because it creates a layer of vegetation on the facade that acts as a natural insulator. If the vine is deciduous, it allows the use of the winter sun’s rays, and if its implantation and growth is regulated by means of lattices or similar elements, possible counterproductive effects on the facades and coverings will be prevented.
9. Improves insulation in walls and ceilings
Good wall and ceiling insulation can reduce cooling costs by more than 30%. To ensure that heat does not enter these parts of your home, apply insulation materials in the most appropriate way for each situation.
There are many solutions on the market, from simple ones such as paints that reflect light and divert heat, to more sophisticated ones such as ventilated facades: a double sheet system whose layers are separated by insulating material and an air chamber that protects the interior from high temperatures, which also reduces thermal bridges. Let yourself be advised by a qualified technician, who will propose the best solution taking into account the location of the house, its orientation and size.
10. Decorate for the summer
Details such as furniture, wall colours or sofas can have a great influence on the thermal sensation of a house. For example, wooden furniture helps to regulate the humidity in rooms. If you have carpets, it is advisable to remove them in summer, and change synthetic fibres for vegetable ones, which absorb moisture and heat better.
It is better that sofas are made of natural materials such as linen or cotton. If they are made of leather, or even worse, synthetic leather, it is essential that you use a cover. As far as colour is concerned, choose light colours for furniture, curtains, blinds or walls. They absorb less heat and reflect light better, although you have to find a balance with a certain amount of dark colours to achieve a visually comfortable instance