Stay Cool This Summer with Insulation and AC Efficiency

Installing air conditioner

In New England, we tend to worry much more about staying warm in the winter than cool in the summer. But with the recent climate shifts that have been happening around the globe, maybe it's time to consider staying cool in the summer as well. But how do you keep your home cool without a high utility bill to show for it? Here are some tips on what to look for to stay cool for less and improving your home's overall energy efficiency.

Insulate to Stay Cool?

Insulation can be a confusing topic, because we typically associate it with cold outdoor temperatures. But what insulation actually does is create a buffer zone between your home's interior and exterior. That means it protects you from extreme temperatures whether it's hot or cold outside, but we tend to notice it more in the winter because of the greater temperature variation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to improving your home's insulation:

  • Foil-backed sheet foam will reflect heat into your home if you have it between the studs and your interior walls, while placing it on the exterior of your home, underneath your siding, will cause it to reflect heat away from your home.
  • Make sure you seal it up. If you're putting in an air conditioner, you're going to want to insulate any ductwork. If you're going with a window unit, you'll want to make sure you use good weatherstripping and possibly some sheet foam to provide a good seal. If your home is drafty, you're going to be spending a lot more money on your utilities than you would by spending a few dollars to seal it up better.
  • It's always good to add insulation. Many homes built in the past were built to minimum specifications, not to the best energy efficiency available. If you have standard 2x4 walls and are considering changing out your siding, put in a good inch or two of sheet foam to greatly improve your home's R-value and lower your utility bills.

Getting a Great AC Unit and Keeping Cool for Less

Air Conditioner

If it's been getting hot enough that you're considering getting an air conditioner, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you keep your cool while saving money and improving your home's interior comfort. Some may seem like common sense, while others are simply happy side effects of having a good-quality air conditioner in your home:

  • Try to purchase a unit that has the highest possible efficiency you can afford. Generally referred to as the SEER rating, you'll want a unit with the highest numeric value. This will directly save you money on operating the AC unit.
  • Have allergies? Look for a unit that has a HEPA filter as an option to improve your indoor air quality, then make sure to change or clean your system's filter on a regular basis. When a filter gets dirty, it allows pet dander, mold, mildew, dust and pollen to build up in your home.
  • Bigger is not better. You want a system that is sized to your home, because it will cause wear and tear on the unit if it's too large and must cycle on and off frequently to maintain the temperature.
  • Window, freestanding or central? If you have one or two rooms on a south or west facing wall that tend to get hot while the rest of your home remains comfortable, a window unit may be the best option. If you only want to cool the room you're in at the moment, a portable unit is a great way to go. But if you think you'll need whole-house cooling, it's much better, and more efficient, to go with a central air system.

By keeping these simple tips and techniques in mind, you can quickly improve your home's energy efficiency for winter or summer. A good place to start is by downloading our insulation product guide below; this guide will help you discover products that will regulate your homes temperature regardless of season.

LEED Certified Building Insulation Product Guide

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.