There's no getting around it, summer in Olathe is hot. And as the mercury rises, your air conditioner tends to work overtime to try to keep your house cool. That leads to higher energy bills and a greater likelihood that your air conditioner will break down or you'll need Olathe air conditioning repair. How can you beat the heat this summer without beating up on your air conditioner? One good way is to understand how windows contribute to the overall heating and cooling of your home.
Sure, we (usually) go in and out of our homes through the doors, but when you stop to think about it, windows actually create more openings that allow heat to enter or cold air to escape. Just imagine your home without the panes of glass in your windows, and you'd have a big box with an awful lot of holes in it, right? Even with those panes of glass in place, windows let in heat in the form of sunlight, and they can let cool air out, especially if they're drafty or not properly insulated. Obviously, boarding up your windows isn't an option. Plus, your HOA might take issue with that. What can you do to help keep energy bills down while also keeping your cool this summer? Let's start with a little explanation of how windows affect heat and cooling:
It's All About the Solar Heat Gain
Sure, drafty windows can let out chilly air that your AC worked hard to cool, but your biggest problem, when it comes to summer heat, is probably solar heat gain, or SHG. Solar heat gain is very simply the heat that comes from direct sunlight. It's why some rooms in your house get warmer—or even downright unbearable—on a hot summer afternoon.
South- and west-facing windows tend to get more sunlight than others, so those rooms are the ones most likely to heat up as the sun beats down. You can reduce solar heat gain by keeping blinds and curtains closed and by ensuring that your windows are as energy efficient as possible.
What Temperature Should You Set Your Thermostat in Summer?
Of course, different people are comfortable at different temperatures, but most folks around Olathe and the Greater Kansas City Area usually set their thermostats between 70 and 75 degrees during the summer months. Office buildings are generally set to 72.
Whatever temperature you like, it's actually better for your utility bill to set the thermostat and leave it than to keep switching it up. One option is to invest in a smart thermostat such as a NEST learning thermostat, which can learn your habits and make small adjustments throughout the day that keep your home comfortable while also maximizing efficiency.
5 Steps You Can Take to Reduce the Heat from Your Windows
- Don't Open the Windows. On a hot summer day, it can be awfully tempting to throw the windows wide and try to catch a breeze to help air out the house. And if you just burned that last batch of cookies and filled the house up with smoke, then there's no reason not to. In any other situation, however, it's best to leave the windows closed. Even with a breeze, opening the windows brings hot air into the house and lets cooler air escape. It also invites in humidity, and even on a mild summer day in Kansas, humidity can be as high as 70% outside, which will leave your house feeling like a steam bath.
- Use Your Window Treatments. Blinds and curtains help make your windows look nicer, but they also serve an important purpose in blocking solar heat gain. While bright summer sunlight can cheer up a room, letting in too much can also heat it up. Keep the blinds closed and the curtains drawn, especially if you're going to be out of the house all day. There's no reason to let solar heat gain push your air conditioner to work overtime when there's no one there to enjoy the light anyway.
- Buy Heat Blocking Window Film. If you've got west- or south-facing windows that get a lot of sun, heat blocking film applied to the window panes can help you to cool things down and will block UV rays, which can help protect artwork, furniture, and flooring from getting faded by the sun. Think of it as tinted windows, but for your house!
- Seal Cracks Around Your Windows. Drafty windows are bad for the ol' utility bill all year round. While drafts may be more noticeable during the winter months, those same drafts are still at play when the sun is beating down, causing your AC to work harder than it needs to. Depending on where your drafty windows are in relation to your thermostat, it can also affect how evenly your house is cooled. If you have a couple of windows letting in hot air in upstairs rooms while the thermostat is on the ground floor, your AC may not be running enough to cool all your rooms evenly.
- Consider Energy Efficient Replacement Windows. When all else fails, you can always replace your windows with more energy-efficient versions. Sure, it isn't the cheapest solution when it comes to up-front costs, but it may save you a lot in the long run. And if you've got windows that are getting on in years and need to be replaced anyway, there's no good reason not to upgrade to something that will help keep cool air in and hot air out during the summer, whether that means double pane windows to trap heat or low-e windows that reflect solar radiation and decrease solar heat gain.
Lastly, Make Sure Your Cooling System is Operating at Peak Functionality
No matter how energy efficient your windows are, your house will get pretty hot on a summer day in Olathe when the air conditioner breaks down. That's why it's important to schedule regular Olathe air conditioning tune-ups every year, preferably before the hot weather hits hard. If your AC hasn't been checked out yet this year, there's still time to call Davenport Service Company in Olathe before your air conditioner breaks and strands you with no AC on the hottest day of the year. Just call 913-441-2222 to schedule your Olathe air conditioner tune-up today!