By: Karen

As the warm weather quickly approaches, it is time to remember what I said in the middle of the summer last year – you need to figure out how to make this house cooler!! Unfortunately, central air is definitely not in the budget, so I suppose it’s time to hit the internet to find out what do-it-myself tips I can find out there.

The biggest problem is our windows – also not in the budget to replace, because there are so many!! It was one of the things I had loved about the house when I purchased it, but they are drafty in the winter, and because there are so many, bake the rooms in the summer.  I have also always loved having them wide open, so we currently have no window treatments.

The first piece of information I found was to put up blinds or shades. Obviously, I knew that, but the question was what kind… Turns out, go with something white on the outside, because it reflects the sunlight, which cuts out a lot of the sun’s heat gain.  A bamboo shade is a good option, because the bamboo pieces absorb a lot of heat.  A wood blind is also a good option, being that wood is a natural insulator.  A cellular shade though, it turns out, is the best option, because it has pockets of air that trap the heat inside – and they are all white on the outside.  I decided those were my choice, and got them in a sand color for most of my windows.

The other thing was to get darkening curtains that could be closed over the shades during the day when no one was in the rooms.  Basic theory, a cave is always cool – if you don’t let in any sun, it can’t heat up the room.  Along the same lines – keeping the house closed during the day would keep out the humidity, and then after the sun sets a little, I could open everything up to get some fresh, evening air.

For certain windows, in rooms where I really didn’t want to block the view, where I spend more time during the day, solar shades seemed like a good option.  The reviews I read said they cooled down a room significantly, because they blocked the harsh sun, but still felt significantly more open than the cellular shades.

Now that all of these elements are in place, it’s time to wait.  Who knows what the weather will bring this summer – but I have to say I feel pretty prepared for whatever comes my way.