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Everyone loves a bright, airy home, but if your home faces the sun during the day, things can get quite uncomfortable, even with air-conditioning in your home.
When the sun is beating down on the front of your home all day long, it can make every area of the house miserable, but fortunately there are things you can do to make things a little cooler there.
South-Facing Homes Can Be a Challenge
When your home faces south, the sun will be right in front of it throughout most of the day, and if your living area is in the front of the home, this can be excruciating. What’s even worse is that the entire home can be hotter than usual, even the rooms in the back of the house.
For this reason, it is important to know what to do – and what to avoid – to make your home just a tad cooler.
For starters, you can change the layout of the outside part of your home that faces the sun. Try doing one of the following things to block out some of the sun’s heat:
- Plant a tree or tall shrub there
- Build a trellis there
- Build a pergola there
The trellis or pergola can be planted with vines to make the area even shadier, but all of these things can enhance the shade on that section of your home and keep the inside of the home a little cooler.
If you aren’t sure exactly what to plant on the outside of your home, consider using some of the best shade-producing plants, which include sunflowers, banana plants, lemon grass, mimosa trees, palms, and crepe myrtle trees, among others.
Speaking of the outside of your home, many people choose to paint their roof white because white reflects the sun and, therefore, keeps your entire home much cooler. You’ll be surprised how much cooler the entire house will be once the roof is painted the right color!
What About the Inside of the Home?
Naturally, there are numerous things you can do to keep the inside of your home cooler, and these include:
- Make sure your attic is well-insulated with 12-inches or more of insulation … duh!
- Consider applying a heat-reflecting film to your windows, which is inexpensive and very effective
- Choose to do humidity-producing activities such as showering and cooking when it isn’t the hottest time of the day
- Make sure each room has its own ceiling fan so that the air can circulate constantly; use portable fans to keep the air moving
- If you install drapes or curtains, make sure they have a liner facing outward that is white in color, and pull the drapes when it’s especially hot outside
- When it isn’t that hot, open your windows and doors and let the air flow through the house
- Make sure lights and any other heat-producing items are turned off whenever possible during the day
- If you can afford it, switch to double- or even triple-pane windows throughout your home to keep things more comfortable and save on your utility bill
In other words, you’ll want to do only what’s necessary during the day when it’s hot outside. If you need to start dinner, make sure you do it when the sun is starting to go down.
Don’t wash and dry your clothes during the day, and take advantage of any breeze you get by making sure doors and windows on both sides of the house stay open so that the air flows through the home from front to back.
There’s More That You Can Do
Besides the basic common-sense measures, there are other things you can do as well. For instance, you may want to consider using an outdoor grill instead of the oven in your kitchen for cooking meals. It can not only keep the inside of the house a little cooler, but it can also be a lot of fun for both you and your family.
You should also consider keeping your blinds closed during the day when the sun is out. This might be challenging for some people who love to see what’s going on outside of their home, but it can make a big difference for both the comfort level of your home and in your monthly utility bill.
Also, remember when we talked about reducing the humidity level in your home by not showering or washing your clothes when it’s hot outside? If you need to, buy a dehumidifier for your home and use it regularly.
Dehumidifiers aren’t just for basements anymore; indeed, you can place these in any room in your home that needs it.
In addition, you should also change the air-conditioning filters regularly to keep the vents clean and the air-conditioner running more efficiently. For best results, replace the filter every month, or every six weeks at the latest.
Making Your Home “Smarter”
Yet another suggestion is to make your home “smarter.” Install a programmable electronic thermostat so that you can control the temperature inside your home even if you aren’t there.
Buy energy-efficient lightbulbs such as LED bulbs because standard bulbs can increase the level of heat in your home every day that you use them.
In fact, if you put a high-wattage bulb, for example, a 100-watt bulb, in a small room, it can increase the temperature of that room by 11-degrees per hour. It emits that much heat!
If you’d like to do something that is both cooler and that looks good, add awnings to your home. Awnings come in many different materials, sizes, and designs, and they can be standard or retractable.
They also come in a wide selection of beautiful colors and patterns, so you are guaranteed to find one that will perfectly match your home’s decor.
This and That
Of course, there are still other things you can do to keep your home much cooler when it faces the sun.
For instance, if you’re in the market for new furniture anyway, you should go ahead and consider buying furniture pieces that are lighter in color. This way, when the sun’s rays do peek into your home, the furniture can reflect them a bit.
You can also rid each room of unnecessary objects, which means this might be the perfect time to get rid of clutter and dispose of any unwanted or unneeded items in your home.
The more items are inside of a room, the more items the sun will hit. Fewer items means fewer rays hitting the room, which will naturally keep each room a little cooler.
When you’re considering all of your options, you should also keep in mind the effects these options will produce whenever it’s cold outside.
During the winter months, you might regret permanent measures such as heat-reducing film for the windows because when it’s cold outside, you’ll actually want the heat and warmth to come through your windows and into your home.
When it comes to your blinds, you can keep them closed, but facing up in the summertime to keep the sun and heat from flowing into your room, while keeping them facing down in the winter to more efficiently use that same sun and heat.
You can also close doors to the rooms you aren’t using for the A/C to work more efficiently without putting a strain on the system.
You can make sure you change the sheets and bedding in your bedroom, switching from flannel sheets to cotton ones and thicker covers for those that are thinner and cooler.
While we’re on the subject of beds, buckwheat pillows are great because they don’t hold onto your body heat the way standard pillows do, making you much cooler in the end.
When it comes to your ceiling fans, these, too, need to be used differently just like your blinds do. In the summertime, set the ceiling fans to run counter-clockwise, and change them to run clockwise during the winter months.
As you can see, keeping your body cooler can help you feel cooler regardless of what is happening around you, and this is a very important part of keeping cool in your home. Larger homes may be more challenging to cool down, just like homes with a lot of glass windows throughout, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to do.
Keeping homes that face the sun cooler usually involves several measures being executed at the same time because more often than not, you can’t do just one thing and have your home cool down instantly. It is a continuous effort to find out what works best for you, and practicing several suggestions at the same time is what usually works best.