Sometimes, cranking the air conditioner down to 68 degrees Fahrenheit doesn’t seem to cut it during Florida summers. There could be several explanations for why you don’t feel as comfortable in your home as you think you should in the summer heat.
Florida’s summer heat and humidity can be so oppressive that it’s just not fair to rely entirely on your air conditioning unit for cooling. Give your air conditioner some support with these tips for keeping your Florida home cool all summer.
Keep the Sun Out
Closing the blinds and using blackout curtains to keep the sun’s rays from blazing into your home can help cool your indoor space. If you have old, single-pane windows, consider replacing them with contemporary double-pane windows. Depending on where you live in Florida, your local building codes may require impact windows designed to withstand hurricanes and the debris winds toss around.
Double-pane windows have an inert gas between the panes to keep heat out in summer and in during the winter. Many also have glass that blocks some UV light.
If you don’t already have them, find out if solar screens are available for your home’s windows. They keep harmful UV rays out and reduce solar heating.
Use a Heat-Deflecting Window Film
Another technique to reduce the heat that enters your home through your window’s glass is to use a heat-reducing window film. Approximately 30 percent of the heat that enters your home comes through the windows. Covering them with a heat-reducing film and keeping your blinds and drapes closed when the sun shines directly through your windows is a simple tip for keeping your Florida home cool in the summer.
Set Your Ceiling Fan to Counterclockwise
A ceiling fan set counterclockwise provides a cooling downdraft. Hot air pushed down from the ceiling will cool as it descends. You’ll feel a breeze cooling you as it passes over your skin.
The old cliché, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” certainly holds true in Florida. Humidity makes an otherwise tolerable temperature extremely uncomfortable. It’s harder for your natural cooling system—perspiration—to evaporate, taking heat with it as it vanishes into the air.
You may have a whole-house dehumidifier, but adding a small one to rooms particularly prone to that steamy feeling can cool them down. Never use one in the bathroom! Portable dehumidifiers are electric devices and shouldn’t be used near water sources in your home!
Clean Your Air Ducts
Your air conditioning system is working its hardest in the summer, but dirty air ducts make it work harder than ever. Dirty vents can also collect allergens, insects, and even mold.
Arrange for professional air duct cleaning, including filter changes, from a company that understands how air conditioning works and the strain that Florida summers impose on residential HVAC systems.
Investigate whether your AC system would benefit from a duct-boosting fan. These apparatuses fit into air ducts and boost the airflow to give your AC a little more oomph as it sends air into your rooms.
Consider Your Roof
When was the last time you thought about the state of your roof? A roof that hasn’t been touched in 20 years is due for a refresh or replacement. New types of roof shingles are designed to reflect heat, rather than absorb it, and reduce heat transfer from the outside.
Lighter color shingles can help, although some roofers will warn you that these are more prone to develop algae. However, roofers have ways to discourage algae growth, including installing a strip of copper or zinc near the top, tucked under but protruding from the top row of shingles. These strips shed bits of metal that are toxic to algae and will help keep the roof clear of it and looking clean.
Add Attic Insulation
Another way to prevent heat near the roof from getting into your house is to increase your level of attic insulation. People often think of adding insulation in cold climates, but it also helps when heat is the problem. Extra insulation will help keep cool air in and hot air out and relieve your air conditioner from having to cool air that’s constantly heating back up again.
Let your stove and oven rest for the summer months. Turn to your refrigerator for cold salads, fruits, veggies, and even charcuterie.
What’s better in the summer than a barbeque? When you crave a cooked meal, fire up the grill and cook outside to keep the heat out of your house. Sure, it means working over a hot grill on a hot day, but when the food is ready, you can retreat indoors to enjoy your grilled meat and veggies. They’ll be hot while you cool down!
Turn On Your Bathroom and Kitchen Fans
The fans in your bathroom and kitchen are there to expel moisture and cooking fumes, but they can also pull hot air out of your living spaces and send it outside. Even if you’re not cooking or showering, run these fans for a few 30-minute rounds each day when the indoor environment starts to feel a little too tropical.
Keep Inside Doors Open
Maintaining an open indoor environment lets air freely circulate, so don’t hoard that cool air in bedrooms with closed doors. Keeping your interior doors open improves airflow around the house, and your entire home will benefit. There’s been debate on this topic, but our tip for keeping your Florida home cool throughout the summer is to keep those inside doors open whenever appropriate.
Seal Leaks in Windows and Walls
While feeling a draft may seem pleasant in the summer, it could also indicate a crack or opening where air is escaping or entering your home. Inspect windows and doors, looking for gaps or areas where you can see daylight. These indicate an insufficient seal.
Check your foundation and walls for cracks or gaps that might draw cool air out and allow hot air in. If you can feel a draft but can’t quite locate the source, you can use a lit stick of incense in the various rooms of your house, passing it near doors and windows, to see which way the smoke goes.
You could also try an ultrasonic air detector, which will identify where leaks are coming from and whether the leaking air is cold or warm. Finally, a qualified technician can perform an energy audit to identify areas in your home that leak and cost you money through increased energy bills as your HVAC struggles to keep up.
Use the Dishwasher and Clothes Dryer at Night
These appliances generate a lot of heat. Run them at night, when it is cooler outside, to minimize the heating effect these machines can have on your home.
Switch to LED or Smart Bulbs
Use LED or smart bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. The latter generates a lot of heat, while the former is designed to release less heat into your home environment. They’ll last longer and cost less to use.
There are many more ways to keep your Florida home cool in the summer, from planting shade trees and shrubs to setting a bowl of ice in front of a fan. If your air conditioning just doesn’t seem to be up to the task, your windows are leaky, or your roof has seen better years, contact USA Home Improvement. We service homes across South Florida in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties.