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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 the 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 the solar film has been installed on the outside of older, single-pane windows, it provides an additional layer of protection against the elements.

How trees are located on your property will also influence how your home retains heat and cool air. If it’s more important for you to absorb heat from south-facing windows in winter, then leave trees that obscure those windows in place.

However, during the summer be prepared for that part of the house to get hotter than other areas. It’s then that a box fan will come in handy to keep the temperature down, and pulling down a shade or drawing the curtains will add to its efficiency.

The Direction of Your Home

Unless you’re a feng shui aficionado, you may not give much thought to the direction your home faces. But it could have an effect on how well your house retains cool air in summer and heat during the winter.

According to MSN, the orientation of your dwelling determines how much sunlight streams into the home and can affect how hot or cold it gets. If you live in a cold climate, for instance, a southern-facing house has greater exposure to the sun and absorbs passive heating.

Houses in hot climates that face north avoid having strong ultraviolet rays from entering the home. However, in a south-facing house, you can add an overhang from the roof to reduce the heat from sun exposure.

This is just one of the ways that windows will affect the way heat and cold are retained by your home and how homeowners are able to minimize or maximize the situation. If you do have windows across from each other, increase their ability to cool your house by placing window fans in those openings and you’ll be able to cut down on the amount of time you run your air conditioner.


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