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Mountain Homes Stay Cool: Summer Energy Savings in NC

Pierrette Rouleau, PhD

About Pierrette:  Pierrette is most fulfilled when she is working on behalf of someone else...

About Pierrette:  Pierrette is most fulfilled when she is working on behalf of someone else...

Jun 10 1 minutes read

As we brace for the summer season in the scenic North Carolina Mountains, including towns like Asheville, Boone, and Brevard, the prospect of dealing with heat while keeping energy costs low is on many homeowners’ minds. The good news is that with a combination of traditional wisdom and modern technology, you can ensure your home remains a cool retreat during the warmer months without sending your energy bills skyrocketing. Here's what you can do:

Check for Drafts

Before the summer heat fully sets in, it’s a good time to inspect your mountain home for air leaks. Minor gaps around doors, windows, and vents can undermine your cooling efforts. An afternoon spent applying weather-stripping or caulking these trouble spots can significantly improve your home's ability to maintain a cooler temperature. It’s an affordable fix that has a notable impact.

Enhance Your Insulation

Insulation plays a crucial role in your home’s defense against the summer heat, particularly in our varied North Carolina mountain climate. Assess the state of your attic, walls, and floors. Many homes in Asheville and surrounding areas, especially older structures, may need an insulation upgrade to effectively reflect the summer heat while keeping cool air in.

Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances

When it's time to replace old appliances, opting for energy-efficient versions can make a significant difference in your home’s overall energy usage. Appliances bearing the ENERGY STAR label are not only better for the environment but will lead to savings on your bills. This is particularly beneficial in regions like the North Carolina Mountains where every bit of saved energy counts towards a greener planet and a lighter utility bill.

Leverage Natural Ventilation

Making use of the cooler air during early mornings and nights can help. The mountainous area often enjoys breezes that lower inside temperatures naturally. Strategically opening windows can facilitate cross-ventilation, and adding window fans enhances this effect, reducing reliance on air conditioning.

Update Window Treatments

High altitude sun can be strong and direct, even in cooler mountain areas. Installing light-colored blinds or curtains with reflective backings can combat unwanted solar heat gain. This approach is especially valuable during the peak sun hours in towns like Boone, where sunlight can intensify indoor heat.

Smart Thermostat Adjustments

A programmable thermostat can be your best friend in efficiently managing your home's cooling schedule. Adjusting settings to reflect when you’re typically home or away ensures your cooling system works smarter, not harder. Positioning the temperature around 78°F when you’re present and increasing it when you’re out can result in noticeable savings.

Regular HVAC Care

Mountain homes benefit greatly from regular HVAC system check-ups. Scheduling professional inspections and taking care of filter replacements are simple ways to keep your system running efficiently, smoothing out those high summer energy peaks common in our region.

Window Upgrades for Efficiency

For those looking to invest further, energy-efficient windows with low-E coatings are a smart choice. These windows can dramatically reduce heat transfer, making your home cooler in the summer. This kind of upgrade is particularly relevant in areas like Brevard, where older homes are common but might lack modern efficient windows.

Embrace Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are an underrated way to aid your air conditioning. Setting them to rotate counterclockwise in summer can create a breeze that feels cooler, allowing you to adjust your thermostat a bit higher. It's a cost-effective method to enhance your comfort level.

Smart Landscaping for Shade

Natural shade plays a significant role in keeping your home cool. Consider planting deciduous trees strategically around your property. They not only beautify your surroundings but also act as natural air conditioners. Plus, installing awnings can offer immediate relief from direct sunlight, a strategy that can be particularly effective in sun-drenched areas like the ridges facing west.

Applying these strategies can significantly improve your North Carolina mountain home’s coolness and energy efficiency throughout the summer. It's not just about beating the heat; it's about optimizing your living environment for comfort, savings, and environmental responsibility. The breathtaking beauty of our surroundings reminds us daily of the importance of adopting sustainable practices. By making thoughtful adjustments, you can enjoy the best of summer in the mountains while minimizing your environmental footprint and keeping those energy bills in check.

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