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Old windows and house color can affect a home's energy efficiency

Old windows and house color can affect a home’s energy efficiency

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Prospective home buyers often ask how old the furnace is or when the roof was last repaired. But they may not think to inquire about the air conditioning system or pay attention to the color of the roof.

In an older house, these factors can lower energy efficiency and significantly raise the cost of home improvements. When homes have a black roof and the exterior walls are painted in a dark color, they’re like magnets for heat. Rather than reflect sunlight, dark-colored home exteriors and roofs absorb it and transfer the extra hot air throughout the home.

Consider AC’s age
Older air conditioning systems can yield electric bills that are considerably higher if they aren’t newer Energy Star models. The age of the system and its seasonal energy efficiency ratio will tell a home buyer whether they’ll be getting their money’s worth. The SEER is the BTU cooling output in a season divided by the electric input in watt hours.

If these improvements aren’t in a potential buyer’s budget, there are alternatives. Running electric fans that are tailored to the size of the rooms and placed strategically to maximize the breeze effect throughout the interior of the home will make a big difference in keeping the house cool in summer.

Oscillating fans, which direct air over a widespread area, can even stretch the cooling effect from room to room, depending on the layout of the house. Tower fans, for instance, often have oscillating capability and only take up a minimal amount of floor space with their slim, vertical designs.

Check the windows
Another potentially major expense in purchasing an older home is the state of the windows. If a longtime owner of a property has had the foresight to install double- or triple-pane windows – particularly in a colder climate – the prospective buyer can breathe a sigh of relief.  However, if the home has its original single-pane windows, a window replacement project that can run thousands of dollars will probably have to be considered after move-in day.

In addition, older windows were generally framed in aluminum, which allows hot and cold air to seep more easily than through vinyl-clad frames. However, if solar film has been installed on the outside of older, single-pane windows, it provides an additional layer of protection against the elements.


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