The summer months are not here yet, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t start thinking about the hot dog days that typically have people hiding inside the confines of the air conditioning in their homes. It seems like during the coldest months of winter, we are captives in our homes because of the cold, we get a bit of reprieve in the spring months, and then summer hits us with its heat sending us right back inside again. If you are like the many people that crank the dial on your thermostat just to keep cool when the heat wave begins, you might be interested in finding ways to keep cool even when you have to pay your cooling bill. Here are a few ideas that might help you keep the temperature and the air conditioning bill a bit cooler in the future.
Fans, Fans, Fans
While it might seem like the obvious answer for many people, it is a commonly overlooked solution to keeping the temperature lower in the summer. In the early morning and the late evening, you can consider opening the windows and putting a box fan nearby to blow the cool refreshing morning and evening air into your home to keep the temperature more bearable. This will work especially well if you try to create a wind tunnel of sorts from one side of your home to the other.
Consider installing an attic fan to blow help circulate the air in your home. Heat rises, and therefore, a lot of the heat in your home will rise to the attic. If you install (or turn on) an attic fan, it will blow the hottest air out of the house and pull the cooler air up higher. You will definitely notice a difference.
Nearly every home has ceiling fans. If you are not using your ceiling fans, then you are missing out. If you reverse the fan direction in the summer, it will help pull the cooler air from the floor up, thus cooling the entire room. Once you use this type of circulation, it will also affect the air conditioner itself. The air in the room will be more consistent and the air conditioner will not have to run as hard in order to keep the temperature bearable.
Block Out the Sun
We all know that the sun is the source of the heat in our homes. If you want to keep the temperature down without spending a fortune, then you have to limit how much the sun heats things up. This means pulling the curtains or pulling the blinds. The less direct sunlight you allow to shine in through you windows in the hottest part of the day, the cooler you will keep you home. Some people object to loosing that much light. It will be up to you to decide if you can deal with the limited sunlight in your home for the benefit of lower temps and smaller air conditioning bills. However, there is another option.
This option will probably go over big with the National Arbor Association. If you want to create shade in your home, you can do so by planting a tree. Keep the tree far enough from you home to make it easy to maintain, but not so far that it will not provide shade. Consider that the tree is going to grow over the years when you are deciding upon a location.
Turn Off the Lights
Lights create heat. Turn them off when you don’t absolutely need them. Not only will this help keep you cooling costs lower, it will also lower you lighting bill. This one is almost a no brainer.
One of the ways many people augment the heat in their home during the winter is by cooking and baking more often. Ovens and stovetops put off a lot of heat, regardless of the season. To help keep things cooler in the summertime, put off cooking until its dark or take the cooking outside. It is a great opportunity to grill or BBQ.
If your home includes a basement, you have probably already noticed a dramatic temperature difference when you go there. On average, there is about a ten-degree difference between the ground level and the basement in the summertime. If you don’t want to crank up the AC to be comfortable, consider heading to the basement when it is hot.
Windows and Insulation
Most people know that the majority of heat and cold is lost through the windows and doors. This has to do with both materials and insulation. Consider hiring a professional to upgrade the insulation in your walls to help keep the interior of your home cooling in the summertime. It will also help keep you warmer in the winter. The windows themselves might need upgraded. Consider replacing windows to make your home more energy efficient. You can look for windows designed with double panes and argon gas insulation to keep the outside temperatures outside of your home.
Preventive Maintenance for the AC Unit
While this last point should be a given, it bears mentioning just the same. If you have not had your air conditioning unit inspected and maintained, then you might be wasting a great deal of money when operating it. For an AC unit to operate at full efficiency, it needs to be maintained regularly. Take the time to keep your AC unit maintained so you don’t have to pay out the nose for your cooling or a costly repair that could have been avoided through preventive maintenance.
If you employ all or some of these tips to keep your house cooler for less money, you might be surprised to find that you are not hot around the collar the next time you have to pay your cooling bill.