How to Protect Your Home in the Summer Heat

July 11th, 2016 | Posted in Home Building, Home Building Tips, Home Maintenance, Safety

High temperatures and humid weather can have a profound effect on you home.  Sound construction techniques along with proper temperature and humidity management are key to proper house performance in the summer months.

Exterior Expansion

The hot summer temperatures and blazing sun cause many exterior building materials to expand. Properly installed vinyl siding is nailed loose enough so that the panels can expand and contract without buckling as temperatures change.  More and more homes are using PVC plastic or wood-plastic composite exterior trim instead of wood since it does not require painting and does not rot.  However, these materials can expand and contract considerably and need to be properly installed with enough of an end gap so that the material can expand without buckling.  Vinyl windows expand with hot temperatures and may be harder to open on a hot day when in direct sunlight.

Attic Ventilation

Proper attic ventilation is critical in the hot summer months.  The temperature in the attic can reach upwards of 130 degrees. A hot attic will shorten shingle life and also cause your air conditioner to run longer to keep the house cool.  Sufficient soffit and ridge venting of the attic is critical.  An attic fan can be a huge help in keeping the attic cool.  Finally, an improperly vented attic can lead to moisture issues due to humid air not being able to escape.  This can cause rotting of the roof sheathing and mold growth.

Humidity Management

Humidity management inside the home is also critical.  Hot, humid summer days elevate the humidity levels in your home.  Many building materials, especially wood, swell when in a high humidity environment. This can lead to wood trim and flooring cupping and buckling.  Doors and wood windows may stick and not open easily.

Running your air conditioner is the easiest way to manage the humidity in your home.   You do not have to have the AC set to 68 degrees.  A setting of 75 degrees will manage the humidity level.   De-humidifiers help too but they need to be set up to run continuously.  The water pan can fill up in less than an hour in humid weather.  The de-humidifier also needs to be large enough to handle the size of your home.