The hot Summer months can make keeping your home cool expensive. Instead of upgrading your air conditioner, however, consider upgrading your roof. You can make changes to your roof that will naturally keep your home cooler. If you want to lower your energy bills and keep your home naturally cool, check out these four tips.
1. INSTALL SKYLIGHTS FOR MORE NATURAL LIGHT
Adding more windows may seem like a counteractive way to make your home cooler because they let in more natural sunlight. However, they are actually a cooler way to provide light when compared to light bulbs. Depending on the type of bulb, a 100-watt bulb may increase the temperature in a room by 11 degrees. The more lamps, the more heat.
Installing skylights can offer more natural light without the heat. Modern skylights can help block or filter some heat from entering, with tinting and/or dual-pane glass. As an added benefit, you will use less electricity to brighten your home.
2. INSTALL MORE VENTS
Vents help circulate the air inside your attic. This prevents hot air or cold air from getting trapped, which can make the house too hot or cold. Too much ventilation, however, isn’t good either because it can allow too much cooled or heated air to enter the attic, which will affect the temperature throughout the home.
Ideally, you need a ratio of one square foot of ventilation for every 150 (or 300, depending on the local building code) square feet of living space. If you don’t have enough ventilation, adding more will help heat to escape faster. The goal is to make the temperature in the attic close to ambient temperature (that would be the outside air temperature not in direct sunlight). Just make sure you talk with your roofer about the types of vents, as some vent types are more efficient than others. For example, ridge vents are believed to be the best because they are effective and affordable.
3. INSTALL HEAT-FRIENDLY ROOFING MATERIALS
Different roofing materials are better in hot climates because they offer better circulation and/or don’t absorb heat. While slate and metal work well in hot climates, clay and concrete tile also can be beneficial. Concrete tile works well when installed over raised battens. The air gaps between clay tiles make it easier for air to pass, also helping to cool the underlying structure of the roof.
“Cool” roof materials are usually lighter in color, which is also an important factor to consider. Regardless of which type of roof you choose, choose lighter colors, which will reflect the heat from the sun. Darker colors like dark browns or greens will absorb more heat, making your attic naturally hotter. This may be great for cold climates, but in areas like Phoenix, this will only require more power usage to cool the home.
4. INSTALL HEAT-PROTECTION COATINGS
If your home has a flat roof, you have additional options available. Spray polyurethane foam can be applied, which will add rigidity, sound-proofing AND insulating value. The roof system can be coated with silicone or elastomeric acrylic, preferably in the lightest color available – typically white or a light tan. Light color coatings hold up quite well in our climate and serve to reflect heat and UV-rays, aiding in keeping living space cooler.
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