The Connection Between Color and Temperature

The Connection Between Color and TemperatureWhile temperature effects day-to-day comfort in your house, the color of the house may in turn effect temperature. Color is a major factor in the amount of heat a painted surface absorbs. Radiant heat energy absorbed by a building material such as a roof or exterior wall doesn’t just vanish. Heat accumulating within the material is transferred into the house, warming the indoor environment.

Comfort and Color

Light shiny colors like white or beige reflect more radiant heat. Dark, dull colors like black or brown absorb heat. For more exact figures, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, exterior walls or roofs coated with darker colors absorb at least 70% and as much as 90% of the heat energy from the sun. Meanwhile, light colors absorb 35% less energy than the dark colors, making the house typically easier and less expensive to cool. The same phenomenon occurs, to a lesser degree, in the indoor environment, as well. Dark-colored interior walls soak up more heat and retain it longer than white walls.  

Where Does The Heat Go?

Solar heat absorbed by a dark-colored roof typically radiates into the attic.  An over-heated attic, meanwhile, can cause temperatures in the living spaces below to soar more than 10 degrees above normal during summer. This means your central air conditioner runs longer to compensate and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Cooling costs rise accordingly.

Climate And Color Choices

Local climate and its resultant temperature effects on indoor comfort also influence the choice of colors. It’s rare, for example, to see dark-colored roofs or exterior walls in the hot desert southwest. However, in regions with long, cold winters, dark roof shingles are often part of an effective strategy to keep the house warmer and reduce heating costs.

For more about the temperature effects of color, contact Paitson Bros. Since 1922, we’ve been the Wabash Valley’s source for qualified professional HVAC sales and service.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859. 

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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