“What’s the Best Way to Cool Down a House With Big Windows?” Asks Jeff in Folsom

Jeff lives in Folsom and loves the big windows that he has in his house… at least, he usually does. This summer has been blazingly hot (even by Northern California standards), and Jeff wants to know the best way to cool down a house with big windows. He writes:

“The big windows in my house have always been one of the reasons I love my home. I’m up in Folsom, and my windows let in plenty of sunlight, they give my house what I think real estate agents call ‘curb appeal,’ and they give my family and me scenic views of the pretty pine trees up here in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. But they do also seem to let in a little too much sun and hot air during the summer, making it tough to cool down the house.

Normally, I just deal with this extra heat for a few weeks until things cool off again, but this summer has been way too hot to ignore. So, what I want to know is, what’s the best way to cool down a house with big windows? I’m open to anything, including better windows, better AC, better insulation, whatever. Please, help me out!”

I think this is what’s known as a good problem to have, Jeff. Sure, it can get a little toasty in the summer, but there are plenty of ways to be able to enjoy all of that good stuff you love about your windows while at the same time stopping them from letting in so much heat that your home gets uncomfortable. There are actually a few ways to do this, so, without further ado, let’s get to the best way to cool down a house with big windows.

The Best Way to Cool Down a House With Big Windows, In a Word…

Insulation. Simply put, this is the best way to cool down a house with big windows. While insulation may be only one word, it needs to be applied in multiple places (and in multiple ways) in order to really be effective in making a home like Jeff’s more comfortable so he can enjoy those gorgeous Folsom views.

Most homeowners know that insulation can prevent warm air from escaping from our homes in the winters, but did you also know that it can stop outdoor heat from coming inside during the summers?

I’ve talked about the benefits and advantages of summer insulation in the past, but it really is the key to finding the best way to cool down a house with big windows, or any other house, for that matter. Most homeowners know that insulation can prevent warm air from escaping from our homes in the winters, but did you also know that it can stop outdoor heat from coming inside during the summers?

See, hot air wants to be where cooler air is (that’s just how thermodynamics work). If it’s 100 degrees outside, as it has been many afternoons this summer, but a comfortable 77 inside your home, the hot air tries to get in. Having insulation in all the right places can stop a good portion of that heat from getting in, regardless of how big your windows are.

Where to Install Insulation to Cool Down a House With Big Windows

Basically, there are three key places that insulation should be installed in your home if, like Jeff, you want to keep it cool and comfortable::

  • The walls: Insulating your walls is the first step to cool down any house, not just those with big windows, but it’s especially important for someone like Jeff. Common sense would seem to dictate that the reason the house is so warm is because those big windows let in too much sunlight. This really isn’t the case. It’s warm because the home’s thermal seal is broken or inefficient. A thermal seal is a home’s ability to lock the cooled or heated air produced by an HVAC system inside while keeping the air outside from freely passing in. According to information from the National Insulation Association, uninsulated or poorly insulated walls can allow up to a third of the air produced by your HVAC to seep out. Installation or upgrade projects of this kind are big jobs, but experts can offer tips on how to insulate existing walls.
  • The attic: The attic is key to properly insulating your house. Roofing materials often absorb the sun’s heat, especially metal sheeting or asphalt shingles, and that heat is then transferred through wooden beams into your attic. This heat then seeps into the rooms where you actually spend time, increasing the temperature and making your AC run overtime, burning more energy to keep your house cool. So, yes, attic insulation does help in the summer, especially when combined with the next item on our list.
  • The windows: Fixing or filling any cracks and spaces between walls and window or door frames can prevent hot summer air from heating up your cool home oasis. You’ll also want to consider installing vinyl windows to achieve the tightest seal possible, and, of course, make sure that you upgrade to double pane windows, which an experienced window installation professional can help you find and install. New window innovations are really impressive, doing things like incorporating gas as an insulating barrier between multiple layers of glass panes to prevent air from passing freely inside and out.

I’d definitely suggest working with an experienced insulation professional to find the perfect ways to keep your house cool. There are many different types of insulation to choose from at a host of different price points, and the best choices for you really depend on the individual specifications of your walls, windows, and attic; this isn’t the type of decision you should make without informed advice from a pro.

All in all, investing in new or upgraded insulation is definitely my recommended way to cool down a house with big windows. This is something I tell all of our heating and cooling customers, as well as all of our window installation clients. There are other benefits that I’m sure Jeff and other homeowners in his situation will also be interested in, too, specifically the fact that they won’t have to run their air conditioners as much because cool air will stay in their house longer, thereby lowering summer electricity bills.

I hope this is all helpful advice for Jeff and other homeowners in his situation. Big windows, obviously, are a great thing to have, but there’s no reason to see them as a culprit for why it feels warm inside a house. With guidance from a knowledgeable insulation expert, homeowners can forget about the added heat that used to be coming in and instead focus on the wonderful views their windows are providing.

Learn more about how upgraded insulation can help cool down a house with big windows—and all the other ways your HVAC interacts with everything from your plumbing to your water filtration system. Contact the experienced professionals at Bell Brothers today.

Image courtesy Unsplash user Kari Shae