What’s the biggest enemy of your indoor comfort during the summer? If you said “heat,” you’re mostly right. But the heat itself is only part of the problem when it comes to maintaining indoor comfort. The heat getting inside your house, which is called heat gain, is a major reason for discomfort and one that often gets overlooked. As long as the temperature inside your home is lower than the temperature outside it, heat will continue to move indoors. This can make it harder for you to stay comfortable, even with a good air conditioning system.
In this post, we’re going to look at the heat gain problem and the best ways you can slow it down for better and more inexpensive summer cooling.
The Basics of Heat Gain
We’re going back to some science basics: heat gain is the total increase in the heat in a house (or any building) due to exposure to solar heat and other external heat sources. There are also heat sources inside a house, such as lights, appliances, and other human bodies, but these are already inside the house. A large part of heat gain is due to sun exposure: radiant heat that comes through the walls and windows. There’s also ambient heat gain that comes from heated air moving into the house.
How to Slow Down Heat Gain
There are several ways you can reduce heat gain in your home. You can’t stop all of it, but you can get control over it so it’s easier for your household to stay cool.
- Insulation: The reason poorly insulated homes feel so uncomfortable in both summer and winter is because the lack of a thermal barrier to slow down the movement of heat causes rapid heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Good insulation in the attic is especially helpful, as this is a major heat sink during the summer.
- Covering windows: The sun on windows is one of the places where heat gain takes place the fastest. You can slow this down by closing the shutters or drapes on windows when they have sun exposure. Doing this consistently can help you save up to 25% on AC costs.
- Raising the thermostat setting: This is one of the best ways to slow down heat gain, but it’s one people are hesitant to do because the idea of raising the thermostat on a hot day sounds bizarre. But we don’t mean to raise the thermostat so you’re heating the house. We recommend raising the setting to as warm as you still find comfortable. The reason is that the narrower the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the slower heat moves indoors. If you’ve had your thermostat set to 72°F, raising it to 78°F will make a significant difference in the speed of heat gain. The AC will need to run less often, both because it’s set to a warmer temperature and because the house won’t heat up again as fast.
We can help you with your HVAC in Fairfield, OH so that you enjoy great comfort and energy savings this summer and every summer.