Lowering heat gain in your Portland area home will reduce your cooling bills. The primary areas where homes gain heat are through their ceilings, walls and windows. It’s not expensive or difficult to lower heat gain, and it can go a long way toward keeping your home cooler without needing as much air conditioning. And you’ll get a bonus from lowering the amount of heat that infiltrates your home since those same steps likely will reduce heat loss in the winter.
Installing more insulation in the attic will prevent the flow of heat from the attic through your ceilings. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you have at least 16 inches of cellulose or fiberglass insulation in the attic. Cellulose and fiberglass insulation are commonly available at home improvement centers, along with the equipment to blow them in. Fiberglass batts are also an option and are easy to install.
Installing an attic fan and increasing ventilation also will help you keep this space cooler. Attic fans exchange superheated, stale attic air with cooler, fresh outside air. Less heat will be present that can seep through the ceilings, keeping your home cooler.
Using landscaping to cut the heat gain coming through the walls works well, especially if you use deciduous trees, shrubs or vines. In the summer, the leaves shade your home, reducing the heat that gets into your home. Alternatively, you can paint the east, south and west walls of your home a light color to help reflect sunshine, lowering heat gain.
Single-pane windows have virtually no thermal resistance, so anything you can do to either shade them or block the infrared heat from entering will keep your home cooler. Shade screens use shade cloth that can block as much as 90 percent of the heat hitting the glass, and solar window film is a semi-permanent solution for thermal changes, summer and winter. If your budget allows, thermal or Energy Star windows are a long-term solution and may increase the value of your home.
If you would like to learn more about lowering heat gain in your Portland area home and cooling more efficiently, please contact us at (503) 266-1249. We’ve provided superior HVAC services for the Portland area since 1976.