The summer heat is here, and we’re loving the beautiful California sunshine that comes with it. Sometimes, however, those warm days can become insufferably hot. With temperatures regularly crossing the triple-digit marker, even the coolest of heads may find themselves getting a little hot under the collar. For those of us with homes for sale, it can be tough to keep a home comfortable for potential buyers. So we, as your Mar Vista Realtors, have compiled a list of 5 great home improvement projects that will help keep your home comfortable and cool this summer, when the home selling season kicks up some heat:

Treat your Windows Right – Inside and Out

The sun’s rays work two-fold to heat up your home. Firstly, it heats up the air, which causes inside temperatures to rise. It also heats up any furniture or object left out in the direct sunlight, and this in turn warms the air around it. Because of this, it makes sense to minimize the sun’s exposure to the inside of your house on hot days. By treating the inside and outside of your windows, you can control the amount of sunlight you want entering your home. Not only that, but the right treatments can also make your home more visually appealing. In addition, when you’re selling a home, window treatments will help keep prospective buyers as comfortable as possible. Here are a few good ways you can help your windows block out the sun, and also add a little ambiance:

Don’t be Blinded by the Sun

A quick and easy window treatment is to install blinds or shades for your home’s windows. There are several types of blinds and shades available at many retailers. You can even use motorized screens or blinds and set them to a timer, remote control, or phone app to change the amount of light you let into your home. Many of these improvements will also add value to homes that are for sale.

Look to Where the Curtains Fall

You can also add curtains for an extra light blocking and insulating effects. Light-colored drapes and thermal blinds are best for stopping heat transmission. Choosing the right shades, curtains, and blinds to go with your home décor can be a fun and a relatively inexpensive way to keep the heat out, and your guests and potential buyers cool.

Giving your Windows a Cool Treatment

A more permanent option is to use a window treatment. This is similar to window tinting in cars; however, there are a few differences. Window treatments for homes are designed to block out light, rather than allow drivers to see. Home window treatments also insulate windows more from heat in the summertime than tinted windows. Window treatments are great for those who may be concerned about the heavier look of blinds and drapes, especially in homes for sale. Blinds, curtains, and drapes may not mix well with other summer home décor, which is more often lighter, brighter and airier.

Give your Windows an Entirely New Upgrade

A great and often overlooked home improvement project to beat the summer heat is to replace or repair your windows. You would be surprised how much heat gain can be attributed to the type and quality of windows you have. If the window was constructed out of energy-inefficient materials, or is leaking air, this will directly affect how hot your home will be during the long summer days. In fact, according to, some of the most effective ways to reduce heat gain during the summer months are sealing, repairing, and waterproofing windows. In addition, you can easily save up to 10% on your energy bills by repairing or replacing them entirely.


If you do decide to replace your old windows, be sure to choose double-pane, high-performing glass with a low-E coating. This will help to significantly reduce heat transfer into your home, and keep it nice and cool even when it is extremely hot outside. And for those with homes for sale, this is a great feature to offer potential buyers.

Beating the Heat in the Attic

Did you know that the temperature in your attic can reach 150 degrees on a hot summer day? This is due to not only the sun beating down just outside, but because hot air rises it tends to collect in the highest part of your home. It is estimated that an attic not properly treated for summer heat can drive up cooling costs by as much as 40 percent.

Keep your Leaks Tightly Sealed

The places where cold air infiltrates in winter are routes for hot air in summer. And what’s worse, hot air is often accompanied by high humidity, making you even more uncomfortable. Using a flashlight, exterior-rated silicone caulk, and expanding foam insulation, find and seal all leaks. Start in the attic, and pay close attention to anything that passes through a ceiling or wall. These could be ductwork, electrical or plumbing conduits, or kitchen and bath vents. While you’re at it, you can also check the basement and crawl space for any leaks that can be sealed.

Insulate to Keep Downstairs Cool

When thinking about insulation, most only consider keeping their houses warm. However, this is not the only scenario. Insulation is also about keeping the house cool. For a smaller home improvement project, you can just insulate the ducts to prevent any leaks, including your attic and walls. But if you are selling a home, do it right and make sure you have the optimal amount of insulation in your attic.

Install Vents in your Attic

Adding vents and fans can reduce the temperature of your attic by as much 33%. You can purchase and install specialized vents and ventilation systems to help reduce your attic temperature. By helping your attic to breathe better, you can shave up to 20% off your cooling bill. This also helps to add value when selling your home.

Here are a few extra tips to help keep you cool in the summer heat:

When it’s dark outside and temperatures are lower, open your windows and doors to let in the cool outside air. In the morning, as the outside air begins to heat up, shut the doors and shutter your windows. This keeps the hot air outside and prevents the sun from warming the air inside.

Try planting shade trees to shelter windows that are directly exposed to the sun. They look beautiful and can add value to any homes for sale.

If you want to work on your patio or deck, opt for materials that reflect heat. You can also install awnings to shade these areas.

If you paint your siding with a lighter color, it will help to minimize heat absorption in your home. This will help to bring down inside temperatures by a few degrees.

When re-roofing, use white or pale-gray shingles instead of dark ones. These keep your home cooler than dark shingles, by reflecting more heat. As a bonus, lighter-colored shingles tend to last longer than dark ones, since they absorb less of the sun’s damaging rays.

Enjoy these hot tips to keep your home cool, from your Mar Vista Realtors!