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Solar Heat Gain: It’s Your Energy Loss

Posted on July 16, 2013

Solar heat gain is your air conditioner’s worst enemy. Use these tips to help your A/C perform more efficiently and avoid costly energy bills.

Reflect heat away

  • Roof: The largest amount of heat gain in your home is caused by heat transfer through the roof. To counter this, install a radiant barrier on the underside of the roof. This reflects heat away, reducing heat gain through the ceiling of your home by about 25 percent.
  • Walls: If you’re looking into redoing the siding or repainting your home, consider choosing a light color that reflects light, rather than a dark color that absorbs it and leads to greater solar heat gain.
  • Windows: The best type of window coating for the Kansas climate is a combination film, which prevents some light and heat from entering the room, but also prevents interior heat from escaping as a benefit in the winter.

Block the heat

  • Shading: Both interior and exterior shading can control solar heat gain. Interior options include drapes, curtains, venetian blinds and honeycombed (cellular) shades. Exterior shading devices include awnings, shutters, louvers, solar screens and rolling shades.
  • Insulation: The best place to add insulation to your home is the attic floor, where – especially when combined with a radiant barrier– heat from the attic is blocked from seeping into your home. It also will prevent heat from radiating up into the attic during the winter.
  • Landscaping: A deliberately positioned tree can shade your home in the hot afternoon, while vines growing up a trellis can block heat from hitting the entire side of your home. Even low-growing shrubs reduce solar heat gain because they cool the ground around the foundation.

Prevent heat from building up

  • Natural ventilation: When it’s cooler outside than inside, as is often the case at night and in the morning, throw open the windows to let a cool breeze blow through. But make sure you close them before the day starts heating up.
  • Limiting use of heat-producing appliances: Use the dishwasher, dryer, oven and stovetop during cooler parts of the day. Seal off your water heater and laundry room from the rest of the home.

These strategies to reduce solar heat gain will help you feel more comfortable and save energy all summer long. Learn more by contacting Comfort Systems in Wichita.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about solar heat gain and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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