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Ways to keep your home cool and save yourself some money in this heat wave

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Ensure exposed wood has a coat of sealant or paint before heat and direct sun hits will extend its lifespan

Insulation isn't just for winter; it can help you stay cool in the summer

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Getting your home ready for the season is usually something you associate with winter.

But now that the heat is finally here, there are a number of things you can and should do to prepare it for summer while staying cool at the same time. Doing both could save you some money by avoiding future repairs.

“The primary concern for most people coming into the summer is how to keep cool, but they should be thinking about how to protect the investment in their home from the heat and the sun,” says Chris Thompson with Haystack Home Inspections.

Whether it’s untreated fences, shingles, a deck or siding, making sure any exposed wood has a coat of sealant or paint on it before the heat and direct sun hit will extend its lifespan.

But it goes much further than that. Most people only associate insulation with winter, but regulating the temperature in your attic can have a number of benefits.

“One of the things that you’ll find — especially in some of the older homes and bungalows in Vancouver — is that the upper floor of your house gets really hot. In short order, you can pop your head up into the attic and you’ll realize that you probably don’t have 15 inches of insulation in your attic which is what they’re using today,” says Thompson.

“Insulation isn’t only for the winter; it’s also for the summertime as well. An attic in the summer can get smokin’ hot. Insulation will help protect the home from that heat coming in and if you have good ventilation in an attic, not only are you protecting the roofing surface from overheating, you’re also helping cool the home as well,” he adds.

That could give your shingles a few extra years as well, which is small cost.

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The other major thing people overlook, says Thompson, involves the primary piece of cooling equipment in the home.

“We get a snap of hot weather and people want to fire up their air conditioner unit. One thing that you want to make sure is that we’ve had temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius for more than 24 hours. Otherwise, some of the liquids inside the actual air conditioning unit could damage the compressor and next thing you know, you don’t have air conditioning.”

That can be a pricy repair or even a replacement.

The Better Business Bureau recommends getting your unit serviced at the start of every season to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. It recommends doing the same thing with your HVAC system.

Keeping the shades closed during the day, installing a thermostat, and running ceiling fans can also keep the interior of your home cooler.

The BBB also recommends switching any incandescent bulbs to LEDs, unplugging anything you’re not using and limiting laundry and other major appliance use to the evening.