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Keep Cool with Easy Home Insulation Tips

When spring arrives in Philadelphia, it’s time to start thinking about how to keep cool as temperatures rise. Adding home insulation can be challenging and expensive, but there are many relatively easy, low-cost home insulation tips you can try.

When spring arrives in Philadelphia, it’s time to start thinking about how to keep cool as temperatures rise. If you live in an older home, weatherproofing for both hot and cold weather can be challenging and expensive, but there are many relatively easy, low-cost home insulation tips you can try first.

Plant Shade Trees

Shade trees not only add beauty to your yard — they can also block the sun’s rays during warm days and help your home maintain a cooler temperature. Strategically shading the area around your central air conditioning unit helps prevent overheating and allows the system to run more efficiently. According to PECO’s seasonal tips guide, a shaded air conditioner uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than one exposed to sun. If you’re unsure what to plant and where, a landscape designer can assist you.

Insulate Your Windows

When choosing window treatments, look for those with insulating properties. For example, double cellular shades block out a greater percentage of sun rays than single cells and may be worth the higher price. To maximize natural light while minimizing heat, window films or the newer low-e window coatings are great choices. Films block solar heat but are not typically insulating, while low-e coating provides some insulation properties for year-round efficiency.

Sealing is also important. Make sure windows close tightly. For larger openings around window frames, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers Guide recommends foam sealant (also known as foam-in-place insulation, available in small pressurized spray cans). In fact, your entire house may benefit from additional sealing to prevent air leaks. Caulk around cracks and small openings and install weather strips to seal around doorways.

Size Up Your Attic

Don’t overlook your attic: Warm or cold air circulating up there can drastically affect the temperature of the rest of the house. Invest in proper ventilation (such as attic fans to blow out hot air) and insulation. If you have a finished attic, make sure it’s properly sealed and insulated behind kneewalls.

Replace Your HVAC Filter

One of the easiest, most affordable home insulation tips is to replace your HVAC filter regularly. Replacement HVAC filters can cost less than $5 at home improvement stores, but changing them frequently removes clogged dirt from your air conditioning unit and allows the system to run more efficiently. Reusable HVAC filters are more expensive, but you can simply rinse them off, rather than throwing them out and buying new ones.

Generate Less Heat Indoors

Another way to keep your house cool when Philadelphia temperatures rise is to avoid using appliances that emit heat. Air dry dishes rather than running the dishwasher. Hang your laundry on drying racks or clotheslines instead of using your dryer. Grill outside rather than heating up your oven.

By following these home insulation tips, not only will you benefit from cooler interior temperatures during the hot summer months, you’ll also decrease your utility bills and overall energy consumption.

Image Source: Flickr/Orin Zebest

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