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Home remodeling: Beat the heat this summer

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ August 14, 2013

Whether it's global warming or just a normal weather cycle, there's no getting around the fact that summer temperatures have been scorching in recent years. It doesn't really matter where you live as just about every part of the country has been affected. If you happen to live in a house that lacks air-conditioning, what can be done to battle the brutal temperatures other than waiting for autumn's arrival?

2 tips for cooling your home this summer

It wasn't all that long ago that having home air-conditioning was considered a luxury. Large shade trees and sleeping porches were how many homeowners escaped high temperatures. Unless of course you were one of the lucky few who had a summer home in the mountains or along the seashore.

Those days are long gone along with ten cent sodas and nickel candy bars. And even if they weren't, a little bit of shade and a screened porch probably aren't going to provide much relief when daytime temperatures are consistently in the 100s. Other than installing a walk-in freezer, are there any methods for remodeling your home to beat the summer heat? Here are two to consider:

  1. Ceiling fans -- Installing a ceiling fan in a room is one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to get a little air circulation. If you already have a ceiling light, putting up the fan is a project that just about any DIYer should be able to handle. Two words of caution: make sure the existing ceiling electrical box is mounted securely enough to handle a fan's weight and that you cut power to the light at the breaker box before touching any wiring. Most home improvement stores sell ceiling boxes specifically designed for fans that can be installed without any sheetrock repair.
  2. Split system air-conditioners -- The catchphrase for these small air-conditioning systems could be, "No ductwork? No problem." If you live in a home that is heated by hot water radiators, electric baseboard units, or a wood stove, more than likely there isn't any ductwork behind the walls. You may have thought that adding central air-conditioning would mean footing the bill for some major remodeling. Rooms might need to be rebuilt as ductwork was placed in the attic and basement and extended through walls, floors, and ceilings. Not so with a split system air-conditioner -- the primary unit sits outside your home and one or more supply boxes are mounted inside on exterior walls. Installation usually doesn't disturb the inside of your house at all, but must be done by a qualified contractor. Most split systems can also be used to supply heat during the winter.

Of course you could just sit and perspire. The good news is that if it isn't global warming, a typical weather cycle may only last several thousand years.

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