Sunny weather is one of the reasons why many people in the U.S. move south. Snowstorms and early darkness can make winter weather difficult up north, and many people long for sun all year round. However, extreme summer temperatures can make southern climates challenging for a different reason. If you live in a warm climate, you’ve no doubt experienced the sweltering heat of the summer season. Here are 10 home additions and renovations you can build to help you survive sunny weather in style and comfort.
1. Install an Indoor Pool
Most people think of swimming as a good way to cool off during the heat of summer, but sometimes the outdoors are too warm even for that. Consider building an indoor pool so you can stay cool and enjoy refreshing exercise during the hot summer months. This space is also a great place to have friends over and can set your home apart when it’s time to resell.
Indoor pools can vary depending on your needs, so be sure to consider all your options before you commit to a certain style. If you have young children, it’s also very important to have locked doors between this indoor space and the rest of your home to protect them from accidentally falling in and potentially drowning.
2. Add Window Treatments
Adding shutters and cooling window treatments to your home can significantly reduce indoor temperatures and bring down your energy bill over the summer. Windows are a wonderful addition to any home, but they lack insulation and allow the outdoor weather to come right in.
If you’ve ever lived in a cold climate, you’ve probably noticed that windows become chilly when the temperature cools down. In warm climates, however, windows soak up heat and fill your house with hot air. The best way to reduce this heat exchange while keeping outdoor visibility high is to install awnings over your windows.
3. Grow a Shaded Garden
While landscaping isn’t technically a home addition, creating an outdoor oasis does add to your livable space. Plants work to keep the air cool and grow faster with more sunlight. Growing them around your home can help keep the inside cool, especially if they partially block windows.
Having a shady garden near your home also makes spending time outside more plausible during the sweltering summer months. Thoughtful gardens can create shade in even the hottest and driest environments. Talk to a local landscaping company to learn more about the best options for your local environment.
4. Insulate Your Roof
One of the best ways to keep your house cool in hot climates is to make sure it’s well-insulated. Buildings with thicker walls retain cool air longer, which explains why ancient castles constructed of thick stone blocks were drafty and cold.
To keep modern homes cool, one of the most effective things you can do is install insulation under the roof. Stopping the sun’s heat with this top layer of home defense will keep the temperature in the rest of your home cool and controlled. Painting your roof a light color is another way to stop sunshine from absorbing into your home.
5. Build a Conservatory
To better enjoy the beautiful weather where you live, consider adding a conservatory to your home. These spaces let in beautiful natural light and can be constructed with energy-efficient materials that reflect heat off the glass in the walls and roof, keeping the space cool. In addition to creating a beautiful indoor space, conservatories also make the outside of your home more attractive.
Conservatories were traditionally used to grow plants in a protective environment, away from the harsh dangers of the outdoors. Many plants wither and dry out in harsh summer environments, and a conservatory allows you to enjoy greenery all year without fear that your plants will be dried up by the sun.
6. Invest in Solar Panels
If you live somewhere with abundant sunshine, your location may be perfect for creating solar energy. Consider installing solar panels on your roof to soak up all that heat and power your home. With enough square footage, you may even be able to get off the energy grid and stop paying for electricity.
Solar panels come in multiple sizes and colors and can be adapted to suit your home and location. If you live in an area that doesn’t allow solar panels, companies may be able to help you install a ground model that’s out of sight and doesn’t break community guidelines. Installing solar panels can be expensive, but they’re a viable option if you live somewhere with constant sunshine.
7. Construct a Sunroom
Sunrooms are similar to conservatories in that they let in a lot of light. However, they don’t have glass roofs and are meant to feel like a natural extension of your living space. Consider building a sunroom onto your home if you want better views but aren’t planning to have many plants in this space.
Because sunshine can heat your home, it’s important to construct your sunroom to get the most natural light while reflecting away as much heat as possible. You can do this by adding special coatings to your windows, shading them with awnings, and using lighter-colored building materials.
8. Update Kitchen Ventilation
Many families stop using their ovens and ranges in the summer because additional heat in the kitchen is unbearable. Rather than resort to raw vegetables and cereal, maybe it’s time for you to update the ventilation in your kitchen.
Most kitchens include a hood over the range, which sucks hot air out of your home and attracts excess grease. Range hoods also include a filter that should be cleaned regularly to work effectively. By updating and cleaning your ventilation system, you can cool down your kitchen over the summer.
9. Revisit Your Flooring
Some building materials tend to absorb and hold heat more readily than others. For instance, you might notice that tile floors are cool over the winter but warm during the summer. This is because tile is dense and can work as a temperature conductor.
To further cool your home, consider replacing tile and carpet flooring with hardwood. Although wood can also be warmed by the sun, it doesn’t absorb or retain heat the way these other materials do. Light-colored woods are your best option for cool flooring throughout the summer.
10. Buy More Fans
This home renovation works both inside and outside, but it has to be done thoughtfully to be truly effective. While fans can’t actually reduce the amount of hot air in your home, they can make your space feel cooler by keeping the air moving. Cool air tends to sink to the ground, and a fan can lift this air so it can cool the rest of you.
The direction your fan is blowing can actually make a huge difference in how effective it is. For a fan to pull cool air upward, it must cycle counter-clockwise. During the winter, you can try running your fans clockwise to bring warm air down from the ceiling. Install fans throughout your home and in outdoor living areas to help you manage the heat.
Keeping Cool in Extreme Heat
If you live in a really warm climate, there’s only so much you can do to mitigate the summer heat. However, these home additions and renovations can make the weather bearable and even enjoyable. Your summer doesn’t have to feel like a scene filmed on the desert planet of Tatooine!
This winter, consider how you can best prepare your home for the hot months ahead. What space could you see yourself enjoying year-round? Use these ideas for inspiration to get started on your next home renovation.
In case you have architectural, structural, and MEP design requirements, or need sustainability in your home renovation project, feel free to contact us. We provide you with the full permit set design + T24.
Rose Morrison is a freelance writer who covers construction, home improvement, and contracting topics. She is also the managing editor of Renovated.com, a site dedicated to the latest trends in the home industry. She has a passion for innovative technologies that are making the home industry sustainable and efficient. Check out Renovated.com to see more of her work.