A sunroom can be a wonderful addition to a home—a bright and attractive space that combines the best of both indoor and outdoor living. However, during our long, hot Tennessee Valley summers, a sunroom can become downright unlivable, as well as having a negative effect on your energy bills. So to get ready for summer, here are a few suggestions for keeping your sunroom cool and your wallet happy.
- Keep It Moving: A ceiling fan or two, depending on the size of your sunroom, can make the room feel more comfortable and help out your air conditioner by keeping the air circulating. In the winter, you can reverse the direction of the fan to help keep the room warmer.
- Tint the Glass: Reflective window film can be installed onto existing windows. These films come in many different colors and types, and they generally decrease the amount of UV radiation entering the room, which can help to protect furniture. According to the US Department of Energy, the silver, mirror-like films block out heat more effectively than the more transparent kinds. However, these films can make the room darker as well. Special “spectrally selective” films, on the other hand, give you the best of both worlds, allowing in all the light while keeping out 40-70% of the heat.
- Consider adding a Ductless air conditioning unit. There are several designs that we offer and are more than happy to come talk to you about your options. Here are just a few options.
- Pull Down the Shades: Reflective blinds or shades can give you more flexibility in letting in or keeping out heat and light. According to the DOE, highly reflective blinds can decrease the amount of heat coming in by up to 45%. For the best results, the DOE recommends reversible shades, where one side is a light, reflective color and the other side is dark. In the summer, the light, reflective side stops the sun’s heat from coming in. Then in the winter, you can reverse the shades so that the dark side absorbs heat from the sun while keeping your home’s heat from escaping.
- Keep the Cool Air Inside: Clear caulk around window frames and weather stripping around doors can prevent your cool air from leaking out and hot air from sneaking in. If possible, depending on your sunroom’s design, insulation above the ceiling and under the floor can also make it more energy efficient.
- Modernize Windows: If you have an older sunroom, you may want to consider investing in a major upgrade to more energy efficient windows. The Residential Energy Services Network recommends that sunroom windows have a “U-factor” less than 0.3, while standard single pane windows generally have a U-factor of 1.1. Energy Star-rated windows are available and sometimes qualify for energy efficiency tax rebates.