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How can we make our house more energy efficient this summer?

upper level window fixed to make it more energy efficient

QUESTION: Now that it has started getting hot out, we are looking for ways to make our home more energy efficient. I’m wondering if, when you come out to paint our house, there is anything you can do to help with that?

ANSWER: Ideally it is better to take these steps before the hot weather strikes, but it is definitely better to put the time in now than to wait any longer or do nothing at all. And absolutely, there are things we can do to help get your home more energy efficient!

For one, we can check the seals around your windows and doors and caulk and seal any gaps or cracks for you that are allowing hot air in and your air conditioned inside air to escape. Ideally, this would be done on both sides of each window/door.

Sometimes after power washing a home, we will find rotten wood that was not visible during initial inspection. It is important to replace this wood because not only is it structurally unsound, but it is also a source of what we call “bad energy.” In the summer it is a source allowing hot air (and sometimes water and pests) into your home, and in the winter it is almost always worse with letting cold air in, not properly keeping the warm air inside of your home, again possibly letting in uninvited pests who need a place to stay for the winter, and is especially bad if you live in areas like ours that get snow and ice. Once these elements begin seeping into your home, they not only wreak havoc with your energy bills, but are an insidious source of ongoing spread of warping and rot to the wood and other structural features of your home. You don’t want to mess around with rotting wood.

We can also consider painting your home’s exterior a lighter color. Darker colors tend to absorb heat while lighter shades tend to deflect the sun’s brutal rays. This is also true of roof colors. Whether your roof is metal or shingle or any other material, the lighter toned materials will absorb less heat. While we are not roofing contractors looking to replace your whole roof for you, we do apply different types of roof coatings depending on the type of roof you already have. These coatings can help with weather-proofing, which is essentially also preventing the exchange of inside/outside air in addition to other elements (water, etc.), so using something in a lighter color that also helps to deflect the sun is providing this protection in more than one way, which is always a plus.

If your home tends to get a lot of natural sunlight – even if it is just on one or two sides of the home, we could put tinted film on your windows to help reduce the amount of heat coming through. The film comes in varying shades of tint depending on the amount of light you want to let in still vs. the amount you want to block, and the newer products are much nicer than the mirrored films of the 70’s! When applied correctly you normally can’t even tell they are there. You can still admire your landscape and scenery if you wish, while preventing all that heat from raising the temperature in your room – as well as preventing premature aging of window treatments, carpets and furnishings. Think of it like sunblock for your home.

These are several ways that we, as painting contractors, can help improve your home’s energy efficiency. But every house is different and it is helpful and necessary to do a walk through and consider your individual circumstances and needs to determine the best course of action for your situation. This is something we are happy to include as part of your free estimate for services.

Download this article and the rest of the Summer 2019 newsletter.

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