10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Cool This Summer
Ah, summer. The season of cook outs, BBQ, fireworks, splashing in the pool, days at the beach, long nights, and family vacations. It’s also the season when you begin to crank up the air conditioning in your home, battling the scorching sun and blistering summer days. We all know the feeling: Walking in the front door in the middle of July, only to find the refreshing feeling of cool air spilling out of your A/C unit. While we all love that feeling, we all also love saving money—and in this case, saving money means saving energy. In addition to using your air conditioner this summer, there’s plenty of other ways to help keep your home cool. As you prepare for the hot days ahead, take a look at our Top 10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Cool This Summer.
1. Utilize ceiling and exhaust fans
Many home and industrial thermostats allow you to manually turn the fan on that blows hot air through your home in the winter. On the other hand, in the summer, that same fan can be run on its own to circulate and more evenly distribute the cooler air from the basement or main level. It also acts as another way to keep the air flowing and moving, which can make your home feel a lot cooler. Additionally, running a fan counterclockwise has been known to have a cooling effect of six degrees.
2. Use your outdoor grill, avoid the stove and oven
Whenever you use your stove top or oven, it’s going to heat up your home. Instead, opt for a cookout and get comfortable using your outdoor grill. You’d be surprised that many of the things you can make in an oven or on the stovetop—meat, pizza, veggies, fish—you can also cook on the grill.
If you do use your stove, be sure to turn the fan on, especially if it vents to the exterior. If it just recirculates the air, it won’t cool things much, but it will at least improve airflow.
3. Limit the use of your home appliances
In addition to stove tops and ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers generate a lot of heat in your home too. Throughout the summer months, consider using a clothesline to dry your clothes outside instead of the dryer. You can also do your laundry loads at night to keep things cooler, and regularly clean your dryer vent for a quicker cycle. Finally when you can, unplug appliances from their outlets to reduce additional heat.
4. Make good use of your windows and blinds
During the night, open your windows when the sun goes down and take advantage of the cooler night air. During the day, be sure to keep your blinds closed to block out unwanted heat coming through your windows via the greenhouse effect—when sunlight and heat enter, but can’t escape. Doing this can actually lower the mid-day temperature of your home by almost 20 degrees. You can even take it a step further and purchase light-colored blinds that will reflect rather than absorb the sun’s heat, and open them again at night when it’s cool.
5. Use a dehumidifier
A dehumidifier helps remove excess moisture from the air which leaves you feeling cooler even in hot temperatures. By keeping your home’s humidity at about 50% during the summertime, you’ll save money by being able to raise the temperature on your thermostat.
6. Plant trees to create shade surrounding your home
While this tip takes time and planning, a tree in full bloom can block over a majority of the sun’s solar radiation from entering your home. A well-placed tree can make a world of difference for the comfort of your home. Although vines and tall shrubs are options for creating shade, you’ll see quicker results but it’s likely that they will require more maintenance in the long run.
7. Change your air conditioning filters regularly
You should change your air conditioning filters every 4-6 weeks, especially during the summer months at its heaviest use. A dirty filter not only reduces air quality, but also efficiency of airflow. Know your filter size, and always have a few on hand. Typically air conditioners need to be serviced once a year by a professional so that they’re cleaned, adjusted and working properly. A little maintenance can go a long way towards staying cool this summer.
8. Take the time to insulate your attic
Most homes have far less than at least 14 inches of insulation in theirs attics, which is what’s needed to keep your home properly insulated through all weather conditions and seasons. Insulating your attic can prevent hot air up above from influencing the conditions of your living spaces—and will end up saving you a lot of money annually Wool insulation is a good alternative to regular insulation, and it is easier to cut and will not irritate your skin. While insulating your attic does present a great return on investment, even insulating parts of your attic can make a difference.
9. Install a programable thermostat
Programable thermostats are a great investment because they can raise your the temperate of your home while you’re away and then lower it back down prior to your return. This will also reduce the stress of fiddling with the temperature every morning and every evening. Many programable thermostats cost around $35 to $65, which will help you save and see lower utility bills in the upcoming months.
10. Use high efficiency lighting
While it helps you keep your blinds and curtains closed throughout the day to block out the heat, you can all save energy and reduce heat by taking advantage of the daylight instead of using indoor lighting. Also considering using energy efficient light bulbs, such as LEDs, in your high use areas of your home. Generally a traditional 100 watt light bulb can increase the heat by 11 degrees per hour in a small room. Some utilities also offer rebates on LED lightbulbs, which makes them more affordable.