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How to Prevent Summer Heat Gain

If you would like your home to be more comfortable in the summer, follow these informative tips. Identifying sorces of heat gain and loss in your home's walls, windows, doors, and ceilings will go a long way in improving energy efficiency impacting your cooling and heating costs.

Here are several tips to reduce heat gain in your home:


Heat gain from windows

Windows account for almost half of your home's heat gain in the summer.

  • Shade all windows receiving direct sun with solar screens, awnings, trees and shrubs on the outside of the window. Shaded windows can save up to 25% of the cost of cooling your home when compared to unshaded windows.
  • Compare the ratings of window coverings before buying. The effectiveness of a window covering is measured by its shading coefficient. The lower the shading coefficient, the more effective the material is at blocking the sun. Textilene solar fabric is available in 80% and 90% blockage. 
  • Close draperies and blinds on summer days to help reflect back some of the heat.

Walls and doors

heat gain from walls and doors
  • Paint exterior walls a light color.  Darker colors absorb more heat. It will help reflect the sun and prevent your home from absorbing as much heat, keeping it more comfortable inside.


Over the years, insulation in a home may be reduced by many factors.  Higher R-value insulation may not have been available at the time your home was built.  Critters also have a way of destroying attic insulation. To provide comfort, the effectiveness of an insulation material is important. The higher the R-value, the more effective the material is at reducing heat transfer.

  • Maintain minimum insulation levels of R-19 for exterior walls (total wall system) and R-30 in your ceiling.

Internal heat sources

Heat gain from internal sources

Internal heat in your home is caused by lighting, appliances, television screens, cooktops, washers and dryers, dishwashers and even our bodies.(Remember Matrix?)

  • Avoid activities that can add excessive heat to your home during the hottest part of the day, such as cooking, doing laundry or running the dishwasher. Make sure to turn your computer off when not in use. 



Heat gain from poor insulation
  • Inspect weather stripping around exterior doors and windows to ensure cracks are sealed and air isn't leaking into your home.
  • Caulk around window frames and all exterior wall penetrations such as pipes, electrical boxes, and vents.
  • Install foam or rubber receptacle gaskets on all switches and outlets.
  • Keep windows and doors shut tightly to retain cooled air.
  • Check pet doors to make sure they are snug and replace the rubber gaskets as they become worn.
  • Check the fireplace damper to make sure it's closed and that no daylight can be seen around the edges.


Heat gain from ceilings

Attic ventilation and insulation affect the amount of heat that is transferred from your attic through your ceiling and into your living space.

  • Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. Without proper ventilation, attic temperatures can reach 140-160 degrees. Such high temperatures not only increase air-conditioning costs, but also can reduce the life of your roofing material.
  • Check that attic exhaust vents are not blocked. Before installing an electric attic fan, calculate whether its motor won't use more electricity than it saves.