Air conditioners don’t technically “produce” cool air. Instead, they remove heat from your home’s air to cool it down. So the more heat that your home contains, the harder your air conditioner will have to work to keep your home comfortable. “Heat gain” is a term that’s used to describe heat that is added to your home from an indoor or outdoor source. Today we’re going to talk about some of the most common sources of heat gain in your home so that you can help minimize their effects and improve the comfort and efficiency levels in your home!
Common sources of heat gain in St. Louis area homes
- Sunlight shone through windows. When the sun is shining on a hot summer day, its rays can beam right through your windows and add a significant amount of heat to your home. There are a few different ways you can help limit this source of heat gain. First, you can close the drapes and blinds on your windows to block out the sun during the day. Second, you can provide shade to your windows by either installing awnings or planting trees near them. Third, you can install more efficient windows that are designed to reduce air leakage and minimize heat gain.
- Sunlight beaming down on your roof. In most homes, the attic on the top level is not a conditioned space. As a result, an attic can get extremely hot during the day when the sun beats down on your roof. This heat can infiltrate downwards into your home’s living spaces, resulting in heat gain. You can minimize this source of heat gain by improving insulation levels in your attic so that heat doesn’t make it through the attic floor.
- Cooking activities. Most cooking activities involve some sort of heat-producing appliance, whether that be the oven, the stove, or a crockpot. While you are cooking with those appliances, heat is constantly being added to your kitchen and warming up the other surrounding rooms. You can limit this source of heat gain by using your microwave as an alternative whenever possible or taking your cooking completely outside onto your grill.
- Indoor appliances. Lamps, computers, washing machines, dishwashers, and driers are just a few examples of the types of heat-producing appliances that can be found in almost every home. You should use these appliances wisely to minimize the amount of heat gain that they can produce. Make sure to turn off lamps, computers, and other electronics when they are not in use, and try as best you can to only do laundry or the dishes at night when it’s cooler outside.
- Showers. The hot water that we use in the shower produces water vapor that can quickly heat a bathroom and also seep outside to the surrounding rooms. The easiest ways to limit this source of heat gain are to take shorter showers and make sure to run your bathroom’s ventilation fan while you are bathing.
- People. Human bodies naturally give off heat, which is why the amount of people in your family is something we take into account when sizing an air conditioner for your home. This is a source of heat gain that’s usually out of your control, but you can help minimize it by spending more time outside, especially when you are hosting a lot of guests.
If you have any questions about the sources of heat gain in a home, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Louis air conditioning contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like Weldon Spring, Wentzville, and Winghaven, MO.