Across the nation Americans are riding out what is commonly referred to as “the dog days of summer.” Homes that have been bearable for most of the season are being transformed into hot boxes in the August heat.
To all you homeowners roasting away watching the ice in your tea melt, still holding out against the high costs of central air, never fear! Here are five smart home improvements that any homeowner can do to help stay cool when the mercury rises.
#1: Install an Attic Fan
One of the smartest, and most cost-effective, home improvements you can make to beat the heat is to install an attic fan. Attic fans are installed in your ceiling, and cool your home by blowing the hot air up into the attic and drawing in cool air from outside. Run your fan in the evening and at night after the temperature starts to drop, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your home cools down to a pleasant temperature. In the morning, be sure to close up your house and turn off your fan before things heat up again, and you’ll be able to enjoy those cooler temperatures for most of the day as well.
#2: Install Quality Window Coverings
Windows coverings are often overlooked when it comes to keeping things cool, but they are effective weapons against the heat during the summer. Insulated blinds, wood blinds, and other specialty window treatments do the best job of keeping out the sun and heat on hot days, though they can be pricey, they are cheaper than air conditioning. For those on a tighter budget, think about simple curtains made from thick materials. They will work wonders when it comes to helping you ride out the heat until fall.
#3: Improve Your Attic Ventilation
Poor attic ventilation is a major culprit when it comes to heating up your home. Believe it or not, the air can reach temperatures of up to 170 degrees in a poorly-ventilated attic, even when the thermometer outside never breaks 100. The solution is to provide the right amount of attic ventilation for your home. Installing gable, soffit, and roof vents can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your attic at a reasonable temperature. Combine that ventilation with an attic fan that blows all that hot air out, and you’ll notice an immediate difference, even on the hottest of days.
#4: Improve Your Attic Insulation
Insulation doesn’t just keep the cold out, it’s also an effective barrier against heat. If you’ve got insufficient insulation in your attic, all that hot air we just talked about is seeping right through the ceiling and heating up your home. By improving your attic insulation, you’ll be taking a big step toward keeping all that hot air from making its way inside.
#5: Hang a Ceiling Fan in Every Room
Our final suggestion to beat the heat, without breaking the bank, is to install ceiling fans. The cooling effect of the breeze they create can make the temperature in your home feel several degrees cooler than it actually is. And in case you haven’t heard, ceiling fans are smart additions to your home year round. They help circulate heat around your home in the winter, as well, saving you on heating costs when the seasons change.
Hang In There! Fall’s Just around the Corner
All of these are home improvements that a determined homeowner can do on their own, though there is an army of contractors out there ready to perform these installations for you, and you’ll still come out ahead compared to installing a new air conditioner. As much as these suggestions will help keep your home cool, however, don’t forget the basics. Shut up your house in the morning, including closing and covering windows and doors, and open things up again at night when things cool off. Keep house fans running to circulate air and help cool things down, and be sure to drink plenty of cold water on hot days. Finally, if things get too hot, flee the heat. Go to the local library, visit friends, or run errands in the heat of the day to take advantage of air conditioning wherever you can find it!