Summer is here, and with it comes heat. While summer can be wonderful in certain parts of the country, in other locations it can be oppressive or downright dangerous. As a landlord or property owner who owns real estate in areas at risk for extreme heat, understanding how to prepare your property is critical. Learn how you can equip your property to deal with these temperature extremes so that you and your tenants can stay cool and safe each summer.
1. Check your air conditioner
No one wants to come home after work in the middle of summer to find their house roasting hot, and calling for an emergency air conditioning repair can get wildly expensive. A little bit of maintenance can go a long way and help you catch problems before your unit actually experiences an issue. Have a technician check your air conditioner over for any necessary maintenance like cleaning the coils, clearing the drain line, or replacing filters. Do it now to avoid a meltdown later. If your property is in a state that doesn't typically have ducted air conditioning systems, consider adding a portable A/C, ceiling fans, or installing a wall-mounted air conditioning unit.
2. Install an attic fan
Hot air rises. This means the attic is not only getting roasted from the sun on the roof but catching hot air from the home as well. If not ventilated, attics can reach 150 degrees during the summertime. An attic fan is a way to keep it cool, which will benefit the shingles, the air conditioner, and ultimately those living below. Make sure your soffit vents are not blocked, as this is how the attic fan is able to draw in cooler air from outside before pushing the hotter air out through the roof.
3. Put a reflective coating on your roof
An Oak Ridge National Laboratory study concluded that a roof coating reduced cooling for a black roof by 80 percent. Roof coatings can reduce the heat in your home, lengthen the life of your roof, and even help to prevent leaks. It's an easy fix with multiple benefits that last up to 10 years when properly installed. Make sure to hire a professional to ensure that you gain the potential benefits without damaging the roof.
4. Plant trees and vines
The evapotranspiration that occurs as a plant "breathes" and the shade that its casts can drop air temps by 6 degrees or more, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Air temperatures below shade trees can be up to 25 degrees cooler than adjacent blacktop. Placing a trellis for vines next to the house doesn't take up much room at all, and most vines are fast-growing, plus they can help create a sense of privacy and beauty. A tree will ultimately be less maintenance and can even improve home values but takes longer to grow to a size that will offer the house shade. Plant to the west or south of your house to provide relief during the hottest parts of the day.
5. Use window tint
Window tint isn't just for cars. One of the cheapest, easiest ways to quickly cool down is to install window tint. Depending on the type of tint selected, it can reduce UV rays by up to 99%. While this can be a do-it-yourself project, make sure you read manufacturer instructions, as certain types of windows may not be able to handle the extra thermal load the tinting generates. If your windows are outdated, it could be a worthwhile investment to upgrade to newer energy-efficient windows with tint. While this is a far more expensive option, it can go a long way when it comes to energy savings and heat reduction while adding value to the property.
6. Get a generator
In record-high-temperature scenarios or times of extended heat, the electrical grid can experience brownouts or even blackouts. Although not common, these occurrences can be very serious if not deadly if you don't have a way to get cooled down. That's why having a backup generator can literally be a lifesaver. Make sure to have fuel on hand just in case, and read all of the instructions carefully, including keeping it in an outdoor location.
The Millionacres bottom line
Hopefully, these six tips will help keep your property cooler during seasons of extreme heat. Most are affordable and easy to do. Even if you aren't in an area known for high summer temperatures, it can still help make the property more energy-efficient, which is always a plus. However, preparing ahead of time is key to beating the heat.