During those dog days of Summer when the air conditioning is calling your name, it can be tempting to crank the temperature down as low as it can go. It might be instant cooling relief in the moment, but you might get a little heated when you get your energy bill! Here are some tips for staying cool this Summer that won’t break the bank.
Fine tune your thermostat – While setting it to 68 might be seem like the best idea, you’d be surprised at how comfortable you might be even by raising it a few degrees. If you are going to be out of the house for at least a few hours, adjust the temperature up a few extra degrees, but don’t shut it off. It’s less efficient to have to cool the whole house back down than it is to leave it set at a higher temp.
Change your filters. whether you use window units or central air, make sure your filters are clean and free of dust and debris. A clogged dirty filter blocks air flow and make the unit work harder. Clean filters can save you on average 10% on your energy bill.
Use fans when possible. A ceiling fan uses as much energy as a 100-watt light bulb and can make it feel 8 degrees cooler than it is. Switch blades to counterclockwise in the Summer as well to push air downward and make a cool breeze. Box fans work great as an alternative if you add a large bowl of ice in front of it to help create a cooler breeze.
Turn off electronics not in use. Lights, computers, and even TVs generate heat during use. If you aren’t using them, shut them off to not only save electricity but reduce excess heat.
Close curtains and blinds. Natural sunlight is amazing, but when it’s pouring into your house on a 90-degree day, it’s going to also heat up your home. Keep unwanted heat out by keeping shades and curtains closed when not in rooms. Black out or insulated curtains can make a big difference in keeping the heat out.
Cook outside. Whether it’s a traditional gas grill, charcoal, Blackstone, or pizza oven – cooking outside will help keep the inside of your home much cooler. If you have to cook inside, try to cook during cooler parts of the day, use the microwave vs. the oven or even a crockpot. Make sure to use your exhaust fan to draw out the hot air.
Line dry your clothes. If possible, avoid using your dryer during the hotter days, and line dry your clothes instead. If this isn’t an option, opt to wash/dry your clothes during the cooler parts of the day – early morning or at night.
Use a cross breeze. If you have windows or doors on opposite ends of your home, open them up during the cooler parts of the day to create a cross breeze of air flow. You’ll be amazed at how much air flows through your home and makes it feel much cooler.
Strategic landscaping. Trees and large shrubs can do wonders at keeping your home shaded and cooler yet allow a breeze to still pass through. Plan trees like Maple, Oak, and Aspen on the east and west sides of your home to help block the sun. In the Winter, the leaves will fall, letting the sun in to help heat the home.
On very hot summer days, you may have no choice but to turn on your AC system. Be sure it that it’s maintained so it doesn’t let you down on those hot summer days.