In warmer months, it is tempting to crank the air conditioner or plant yourself in front of the nearest fan. But these are not the only tricks to keeping cool. It turns out there are plenty of ways to buffer your home from the heat without racking up your electric bill. And they will make you feel like a DIY champ, too.
Keep your cool, and…
- Close the blinds
As simple as this tip may seem, up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows and utilizing shades, curtains, and the like can save you up to 7 percent on bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. In other words, closing the blinds essentially prevents your home from becoming a miniature greenhouse, which is especially the case with south- and west-facing windows.
- Better yet, invest in blackout curtains
Blackout curtains block sunlight, naturally insulating the rooms in which they’re installed. Consumer Reports recommends neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backings to reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent.
- Program your thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat can help keep your home cool and save money on energy costs. If you’re out of the house all day, your thermostat can be programmed to reduce the temperature a few degrees before you come home, so when you arrive it’s comfortably cool without wasting energy all day.
- Be smart about your doors
Closing off unused rooms will prevent cool air from permeating these areas during the hottest part of the day. However, at night, you will want to open doors to allow air to circulate freely, eliminating hot spots, and regulating the temperature within your home.
- Install Ceiling Fans and set to rotate counter-clockwise
You may not realize that a ceiling fan keeps the air moving and needs to be adjusted seasonally. Set to run counter-clockwise in the summer at a higher speed, the fan’s airflow will create a wind-chill breeze that will make you feel cooler.
- Focus on the temperature in your body, not the house
If your ancestors survived without air conditioning, so can you. From sipping tasty iced drinks to applying a cold cloth to strong-pulsed areas like your neck and wrists, cooling yourself from the inside out is not a bad idea. Other tricks include being smart about your clothing choices and telling your partner you won’t be cuddling until the leaves start changing color.
- Turn on your bathroom fans
Or the exhaust fan in your kitchen, for that matter. Both pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your house or apartment.
- Swap your sheets
Not only does seasonally switching your bedding freshen up a room, but it’s also a great way to keep cool. Cotton is a smarter move this time of year as it breathes easier and stays cooler.
- Let the night air in
During summer months, temperatures may drop during the night. If this is the case where you live, make the most of these refreshing hours by cracking the windows before you go to bed. Strategically set up your fans to force the perfect cross breeze. Just be sure to close the windows and blinds before things get too hot in the morning.
- Maintain you’re A/C Unit
One of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of your system is regular maintenance. This will also prevent unexpected breakdowns. It is a chance to catch any issues before they become bigger and often expensive while improving performance.
- Ditch the incandescent lights
If you ever needed the motivation to make the switch to LEDs, or compact fluorescent lamps, this is it. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy in the heat they emit, so tossing them to the curb will make a small difference in cooling your home while lowering your electric bill.
- Start grilling
It’s obvious, but we’re going to say it anyway: Using your oven or stove in the summer will make your house hotter. If it already feels like 100 degrees in your home, the last thing you want to do is turn on a 400-degree oven. Besides, who doesn’t want to get more mileage out of their grill, outdoor furniture, and seasonal accessories?
- Make a few long-term improvements
Try making a couple changes to your home that will keep it cooler for seasons to come. Insulated window films, for example, are a smart purchase as they work similarly to blinds. And additions like awnings and planting trees or vines near light-facing windows will shield your home from the sun’s rays, reduce the amount of heat your home absorbs and make your investment even more worthwhile.