We’re mid-way through summer and there’s already been several heat waves making their way across the country. If you struggle to keep your home cool in the warmer months, or your electricity bills are astronomical because you run the air conditioner all day, you may want to consider the following.
Keep Sunlight Out
Window coverings, such as thermal curtains or shades and blackout curtains, can reduce the amount of sunlight that enters your home and keep it cooler during the hottest parts of the day. Keep curtains or blinds closed during the day, especially on windows that face south and west. You can also use insulated window film to keep heat from pouring into the house.
If one part of your house tends to get a lot of sun and there is nothing to block the sunlight, you can plant trees or bushes. Another option is to install awnings outside the windows.
Seal Up the House to Control Airflow
The average home has lots of small cracks and leaks around windows, door frames, skylights and other locations that let hot outdoor air in. Your utility company can perform a home energy audit to find leaks and give you advice on how to fix them to keep your house cooler. Doing so may also make you eligible for a discount on your electricity bills.
Hot air flows to an area with cooler air. If your home is poorly insulated, the interior can get hot in the summer and your air conditioner will struggle to keep up. Adding more insulation could keep your house cooler in the summer and keep your utility bills down.
If you don’t use certain rooms often, close the doors to keep cooler air in the parts of your home that are occupied. Open windows at night to let a cool breeze into the house.
Use Air Conditioners, Fans and Thermostats Wisely
If you use one or more window air-conditioner units, make sure they are appropriate for the areas they are cooling. Using a unit that is the wrong size can waste energy and cost you more for electricity. ENERGY STAR air conditioners save energy and are inexpensive to run.
Ceiling fans, if used correctly, can make a room feel cooler. Set ceiling fans so the blades rotate counterclockwise to circulate cool air close to the ground throughout the rest of the room. Turning on the bathroom fan when you take a shower and the kitchen fan when you cook can draw hot air out of the house.
Use a programmable thermostat to set your air conditioner to a lower temperature when your family is not home. You can program it to cool off the house shortly before you return home so it will be comfortable while you’re there, while avoiding wasting money to cool it when unoccupied.
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