Maximizing your air conditioning system’s cooling performance, as well as efficiency, requires an understanding of heat gain. Heat gain is essentially what makes your home warmer. It’s defined as the transfer of heat from one place to another place. Heat can enter your home where it reduces the performance and efficiency of your air conditioning system. What causes heat gain exactly?
#1) Uninsulated Exterior Walls
A common cause of heat gain is uninsulated exterior walls. Exterior walls are those that separate your home’s living spaces from its exterior. Without insulation, heat will be able to easily travel through the exterior walls and into your home. You can reduce heat gain in your home by ensuring that all exterior walls are thoroughly insulated.
#2) Open Curtains
Leaving window curtains open can lead to heat gain. According to research cited by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), medium-colored curtains can reduce heat gain by as much as 33%. Curtains, of course, are only useful at reducing heat gain when they are pulled closed. Leaving window curtains open means that more solar heat will enter your home.
#3) Single-Pane Windows
While heat gain can occur with all types of windows, it’s more prevalent with single-pane windows than double-pane windows. Single-pane windows are designed with a single layer of glass, whereas double-pane windows are designed with two layers of glass. Each layer of glass acts as insulation. Double-pane windows have twice as many layers, so they offer greater protection against heat gain than single-pane windows.
#4) Lack of Natural Shade
If there’s little or no shade covering your home, it will likely experience high levels of heat gain. Shade offers natural protection against heat gain. It will shield certain parts of your home’s exterior from direct sunlight. And without being exposed to direct sunlight, those areas will absorb less heat. You can grow trees in front of your home to create natural shade that minimizes heat gain.
#5) Artificial Lighting
Heat gain can occur from artificial lighting as well. Not all forms of heat gain involve solar heat. Heat gain can encompass other sources, including artificial lighting. Many types of artificial lighting produce heat. Incandescent lighting, for instance, is known for generating a substantial amount of heat. If your home currently uses incandescent fixtures, it may experience high levels of heat gain.