Summer heat gain in our homes

Components of your house, such as windows, walls, doors, and ceilings work to insulate your interior living space. The energy efficiency of these components impacts your cooling and heating costs.

In the summer, controlling the amount of heat that enters your home will help you reduce the cost of air conditioning, while at the same time, helping to increase your comfort level.


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

  • Shade all “sun-struck” windows in your home with devices such as outside shading screens, awnings, trees and shrubs, window tints and films, and indoor blinds, shutters and draperies. Shaded windows can save up to 25% of the cost of air conditioning, when compared to unshaded windows.
  • The effectiveness of a window-shading product is measured by its shading coefficient. The lower the shading coefficient, the more effective the material is at blocking the sun.
  • In the summer, close draperies and blinds during the day to help keep out the heat.


  • 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.


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. These high temperatures not only cause increased air conditioning costs, but also can reduce the life of your roofing material.
  • To have natural ventilation, your attic must have a balance of intake vents and exhaust vents. Intake vents should be positioned lower than exhaust vents to achieve maximum benefit. Power-operated attic fans are generally not a good idea since they typically use more energy than they save.


  • Insulation provides a line of defense between attic temperatures and the comfort of your living space. The effectiveness of an insulation material is measured in R-values and typically, the higher the R-value, the more effective the material is at reducing the amount of heat transfer.
  • Maintain minimum insulation levels of R-19 for exterior walls (total wall system) and R-30 in your ceiling.

Walls and doors

  • A light-colored exterior paint will help reflect the sun, absorbing less heat and keeping your home more comfortable.

Internal heat sources

Internal heat is the heat given off by appliance motors, cooking, laundry and even our bodies themselves.

  • Avoid activities that can add excessive heat to your home during the hottest part of the day. These can include operating your oven, running your clothes washer and dryer, and running your dishwasher.

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