Ah, summer. The season of cookouts, BBQ, fireworks, splashing in the pool, days at the beach, long nights and family vacations.
It’s also the time of year 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 AC unit. While we all love that blast of chilled air, 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 summer tips and learn how to keep a room cool that faces the sun.
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. This component 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 can lower your indoor temperature by up to six degrees.
Use Your Outdoor Grill Instead Of The Oven
Whenever you use your stovetop or oven, the level of heat in your home will increase. 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 your oven fan just recirculates the air, using your fan won’t cool things much, but it will at least improve airflow.
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 and save on electric bills.
Use Your Windows And Blinds Well
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. Closing your blinds and shades can actually lower the mid-day temperature of your home by almost 20 degrees. Take this idea a step further by purchasing light-colored blinds that will reflect rather than absorb the sun’s heat, and open them again at night when it’s cooler.
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.
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. Shade trees can make a world of difference for the comfort of your home. Although vines and tall shrubs are options for creating shade and you’ll see quicker results, these plants will require more maintenance in the long run than trees.
Change Your Air Conditioning Filters Regularly
How often should you change the air filter in your house? You should clean or replace your filters every four to six weeks, especially during the summer months when your air conditioner is in almost constant use. A dirty filter not only reduces air quality but also the efficiency of airflow. Know your filter size, and always have a few extras on hand. Typically air conditioners need to be serviced once a year by a professional so that all the important parts and components are cleaned, adjusted and working properly. A little maintenance can go a long way towards staying cool this summer.
Insulate Your Attic
Most homes have far less than at least 14 inches of recommended insulation in their 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, as it is easier to cut and will not irritate your skin. While insulating your attic does save you significant money on energy costs in the long run, even insulating parts of your attic can make a difference.
Install A Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats are a great investment because they can raise the temperature of your home while you’re away and then lower it back down prior to your return. Having a consistent schedule will also reduce the stress and hassle of fiddling with the settings every morning and every evening. Many programmable thermostats are relatively expensive, and you will recoup in lower utility bills in the upcoming months.
Use High-Efficiency Lighting
While it helps if you keep your blinds and curtains closed throughout the day to block out the heat, you can also save energy and reduce heat by taking advantage of the daylight instead of using indoor lighting. Also consider switching to energy efficient light bulbs, such as LEDs, in the 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 light bulbs, which makes them more affordable.
ABC Can Keep You Cool All Summer Long
Having large windows is wonderful, except when the hot summer sun is shining through into your living areas. The friendly and experienced technicians at ABC Home & Commercial Services have been helping Texans cool in their homes for generations. Our team can address any cooling and heating challenges you may have throughout your home and recommend changes to make your system more efficient, to help you save money on your utility bills and to extend the life of your system.