Four Passive Cooling Techniques That Can Help The AC System Keep Your House Comfortable In Summer

"Passive cooling" is a term used to refer to measures put in place to help reduce heat absorption, allow heat to escape, or increase air circulation to help reduce the need for active cooling by an air conditioning unit. Whether you're concerned about the environment, want to save money on your AC energy bill and help the AC system last longer with fewer repairs, or just like the thought of having a house that cools itself automatically so you can be more self-sufficient, use these four techniques to help your house stay comfortable in summer with less AC involvement.

1. Shade

Shade prevents heat absorption by shielding parts of your home from the summer sun. Many types of shade are available to shade your roof, including long-term natural solutions such as shade trees and green roof installations, and faster, easier-to-implement options such as shade sails and shadecloth installations. Solar panels can also shield your roof from the sun and have the added benefit of producing energy at the same time, which can help offset the energy your AC system uses. Windows are another important area to shade, since they can produce a greenhouse effect when in direct sun. Awnings, shutters, reflective window coatings, and shade trees are among the available window solutions. 

2. Cool roof

If your roof isn't in the shade, it can build up heat quickly and then transfer this heat to the interior of your house. A black asphalt shingle roof may reach over 150 degrees on a sunny summer day, which, throughout the day, can add a lot of heat buildup. "Cooling" your roof often involves replacing it with a lighter material or coating it with a "cool roof" coating to make it more reflective. You can also install a reflective barrier just under the surface of the roof to reflect heat back towards the roof and reduce the amount that builds up in your attic space.

3. Fans

In addition to using ceiling fans to keep you comfortable at a slightly warmer temperature, you can use fans strategically in a number of ways to help with passive cooling. You can add an attic fan, for example, to blow hot air out of the attic throughout the day so that it can be replaced with cooler air from outside. You can also place fans in your windows in the cooler hours of the day to exchange the air in your home for cooler air.

4. Insulation

Because heat can come in through the walls, ceilings, and floors whenever the outside temperature is greater than the inside temperature, using insulation to protect your house from this heat transfer is an important part of passive cooling. The more heat that gets into your home, the harder your AC has to work. Even if your home already has adequate insulation, you may want to consider beefing it up a bit if you're serious about using your AC less. The attic insulation is especially important because of the amount of heat the roof absorbs, so start by increasing insulation in the attic.

These four strategies are all good places to start if you want to help your home cool itself passively. Use all four of them in conjunction to maximize the effects and help your house easily stay cooler each summer. Contact a company like Lakeside Heating & A/C Inc. for more info.