Summers in the Corpus Christi area can be brutally hot and humid, and when you are trying to keep your home cool and comfortable, heat gain is the major enemy. There are many causes of heat gain and the following tips will help you to identify them and reduce or eliminate their effects on your energy usage and, more importantly, your wallet:
Causes of Heat Gain
- Poor Insulation: Inadequate amounts of insulation can allow the heat from outside your home to gradually warm the interior, forcing your air conditioner to work much harder to keep a comfortable temperature. This increases your energy usage and your utility bills, while adding unnecessary wear and tear to your cooling system. In the attic, where the temperature can reach well above 140 degrees, make sure the attic floor’s insulation has the equivalent of at least R-30, though you can use up to R-60. In the floors and walls, there should be at least R-13 to R-19. Be sure to maintain proper attic ventilation from the eaves to the peak when adding insulation.
- Air Leaks: Any gaps around doors, windows, vents, pipes, electrical lines or outlet boxes can allow hot air to leak in and cool air to leak out of your home. Use a combination of caulk, weatherstripping and sprayed-foam insulation to seal any gaps you find and make sure that any vapor barriers over insulation are not torn or punctured.
- Inefficient Appliances: Older appliances, such as refrigerators and dishwashers, tend to waste a significant portion of the energy they draw in the form of heat. When they need replacement, choose energy-efficient models to reduce your heat gain and your electric bills. During the daytime, avoid using heat-generating appliances and shut off all unnecessary lights and electronics. Running an extra refrigerator in the garage or outdoors can be very costly also. These appliances are designed to run in conditioned space and the extra heat will make them run much more and cost you much more.
- The Sun: Close the curtains, blinds or shades on your south or west-facing windows during the day and choose light-colored paints and materials for the exterior of your home to reflect heat away.
To learn more about reducing heat gain, talk to our cooling experts at CCAC, Inc. We serve Corpus Christi and the surrounding Coastal Bend area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat gain and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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