With record temperatures stretching across the nation and especially the Southwest, we’ve outlined a few quick tips to keep your house as cool as possible this summer without breaking the bank.
Controlling Hot and Cold Air
The easiest and most impactful way to control the temperature in your home is to increase the flow of cool air into the home while keeping the hot air out. While this seems painfully obvious it’s amazing how many home owners don’t do this properly.
In dry climates the best way to achieve this is to turn off your air conditioner in the cool of the evening and allow the home to cool naturally overnight. This not only will reduce your electricity bill but will cool the house down significantly. Windows should be kept open until it starts to heat up in the morning and then closed throughout the house. The home now will have plenty of cool air inside the house that is sealed in for the day. This will keep the home cooler and reduce the workload of your air conditioning unit throughout the day.
The next step to keeping your home cool is to prevent it from heating up as much as possible. This is where window coverings come into play. With all the cool air in your home it is imperative to keep it as cool as possible throughout the day by closing your coverings that directly face the sun at any given time during the day. While mini blinds will block some sunlight and help in reducing the speed at which your home will heat up, heavy drapes or even plantation shutters (we know a thing or two about these!) are much more effective at achieving this. Strategically opening and closing your coverings throughout the day will not only maintain the cool temperature but also provide enough sunlight (keep the coverings that are out of direct sunlight open) that you shouldn’t have to use interior lights. This way you’re saving money not only on reduced AC usage but on interior lights as well.
Another great way to cool or keep your house cool is to use ceiling fans or interior fans. Using the former will allow you to increase the thermostat by several degrees as a ceiling fan will push around the cool air and make the room comfortable despite a higher thermostat setting. Setting the inside temperature to 75 or 76 degrees instead of 70-72 can make a big impact on your monthly bill.
Likewise, using small interior fans can help reduce your bill and keep the home cool. The key in using fans is to make sure those that you are using are energy efficient. Otherwise, using a fan may actually increase the bill as it is just another appliance running constantly inside your home. A great trick with fans is to convert them to mini air conditioners within your home. This can be done in a couple of ways. The first way you can do this is to position the fan in front of an open window during the night. Doing so will allow the fan to pull in the cool air and distribute it throughout the home. During the daytime, a similar method can be used by placing a bowl of ice or cool water behind the fan and allow the fan to blow the cool air through your house. Either way small fans can make a big impact on the home’s temperature.
Much like the other tips the next tip may be obvious but there are still a lot of people who just don’t think about following it. This tip is to cook outside as often as possible and to make your summer menus match the heat. Barbecuing is a great way to cook outside and reduce oven usage, which of course heats the entire home as it gives off heat even while cooling down. Cooking outside on the barbecue doesn’t only have to be on holidays and involve meats. Rather, many barbecues today come with elements and lots of cooking space. Boiling water, cooking potatoes, boiling pasta or corn on the cob and a variety of other things that are typically done inside can be done on the barbecue. Not only will you have a delicious meal but less interior heat and a lower electricity bill. If you must cook inside or if this isn’t an option, cold summer salads are a great alternative to hot dishes that are much better served during winter or in colder climates. Fresh fruit, vegetables and even cold sandwiches are also great options to keep the house cool.
Let us know what other tips we may have missed and check out the infographic below on other ways to keep your house cool this summer.
Via: Tom’s Mechanical