A number of factors influence heating and cooling energy efficiency—including some which seem to have nothing to do with your HVAC system. If you’re considering repainting, for example, exterior color choices can either contribute to household heat gain or help reduce it.

In our eastern North Carolina climate, with average high temperatures above 80 degrees for five months out of the year, reducing heat gain is generally advantageous to control cooling costs. In colder climates, conversely, where months of frigid temperatures are more common, increasing heat gain is the goal.

Here’s how making informed decisions about color selection when repainting your house can help affect energy efficiency.

Darker Colors Mean More Heat Gain

A dark exterior color scheme absorbs over 70 percent of radiant sun energy. This heat accumulates in the structure of the house and raises indoor temperatures. After the sun goes down, it also takes longer to dissipate heat from the house. To maintain consistent indoor temperatures and compensate for this excess heat gain, your air conditioner runs longer cycles, consuming more electricity and increasing monthly cooling costs. Wear and tear on the HVAC system also escalates as heat gain goes up, making A/C repairs more likely and, over the long term, shortening the service life of the system.

Lighter Colors Equal Lower Costs

For the exterior walls of the house, colors that support improved energy efficiency include white, beige, light gray and the lighter variety of other neutral colors. These colors reflect radiant solar heat rather than absorbing and retaining it. Shorter A/C cycles and lower monthly cooling costs are directly related to reduced heat gain. Exterior color choices also have an impact on aesthetics, as well. In general, light colors produce a fresher, well-maintained appearance while dark exterior colors can date a home and make it appear older than it is. Dark colors also fade more rapidly—another downside of absorbing solar radiant heat—and require more frequent repainting.

This energy efficiency topic brought to you by your HVAC professionals at Jackson & Sons.

Jackson & Sons, Inc.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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