As the summer approaches, a wave of dread overcomes homeowners who have two things on their mind: the discomfort of the sweltering heat and the costs that it yields. If you’re one of these people, do not despair; I have compiled a list of ways for you to keep your home cool this summer, while saving dozens, if not hundreds, of dollars!
Whether you’re on a shoe-string budget, or swimming in a pool filled with money, it would be silly to not try these free solutions to the summer heat.
Did you know that up to 30 percent of heat comes from the windows in your home? Close your blinds and shut your curtains during peak daylight hours to lower the indoor temperature by up to 20 degrees.
It might sound strange, but you can turn on your bathroom fans and even the exhaust fan over your stove to pull the hot air out! Since heat rises, it’s only natural that this allows for the excess heat to escape. As cooler air moves up to fill the space, your house will feel cooler without ever touching the AC. Every little bit counts – especially after cooking or taking a hot shower.
Make sure you keep your doors open to let air flow freely between rooms. The air circulation will keep each room cooler than it would be if you were to block off the flow with shut doors. As the air circulates it remains cooler and doesn’t stagnate, leaving your rooms feeling fresh in the summer months.
On most fans there’s a switch, found above the blades, that changes the direction your fan spins. Make sure that you set the switch to make your fan spin counter-clockwise in the warm seasons — and clockwise in the cool seasons — because it affects the movement of air in the room (which, as you may have guessed, also affects where the heat goes). By setting your fan to spin counter-clockwise, hot air is pulled in from above and cool air pushed out below, making the room feel up to 8 degrees colder.
You can be certain that it will be cooler at night. Try opening up your windows in the evening, and use the chilly summer night air to cool your home more efficiently. Out with the heat — in with the fresh, cool air.
It is generally recommended that you set your thermostat to around 75 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home, and 80 degrees when you’re away (with up to 2 degrees difference). This might seem extreme at first, but with time, your body will adjust to the temperature and you will naturally feel cooler. Feel free to set the temperature lower at night — because it’s cooler out at night, your air conditioner does a lot less work! This will allow you a long and comfortable sleep, while also saving you money on energy.
A lot of us are reluctant to change, but sometimes it’s necessary. If the other tips aren’t sufficient — or if you’re having trouble adjusting to the higher temperature settings, as suggested in tip #6 — it might be time to make a change if you want to keep your home cool.
These are typically the first things that come to mind: dressing for the season (i.e. being mindful of whether your clothing is breathable), sipping cold drinks, and applying cold cloths to your neck and/or wrists to cool off. Feeling bold? Take an ice cold shower. This might not keep help to keep your home cool, but sometimes, it helps more to focus on yourself.
This might seem obvious to some, but making the switch from oven and stove to grill is a simple change to make to reduce the amount of heat generated in your home, while staying in the summer spirit.
If you aren’t completely wiped after a long day at work, this tip (combined with the other time-centric ones) is fantastic. You might not think about it, but the dishwasher and laundry appliances contribute a noticeable amount of heat to your home. Try running them at night instead of during the day to keep your home cool through the hottest summer hours.
When all else fails, the best thing you can do to keep your home cool is to spend some money. Most of these suggestions only require a meager sum to save you hundreds down the road.
Summer-appropriate bedding will help you stay much cooler at night. Invest in buckwheat pillows — they don’t hold onto body heat like conventional pillows! Cotton is a great choice for bedding, because it breathes more easily than other fabrics like flannel or fleece.
Even if you’re skeptical of the need for green energy, energy efficient bulbs save money on your bills and cool your home. In case you didn’t know, heat is energy; it only makes sense that leaving hot bulbs on most hours of the day would add heat to your home.
In addition to reducing the quality of the air in your home, a dirty air conditioner filter will restrict airflow. Be sure to regularly check and change your AC filter as needed, to help improve air flow, quality, and temperature in your home. It helps to keep a few filters on-hand to avoid having to make extra tips to the store. This small investment will save you money and keep you comfortable in the long-run.
If you have the means, invest in insulated window films to shade your windows. More costly investments include the installation of awnings, planting trees or vines to shade your windows, or repainting the exterior of your home (lighter shades absorb less heat).