Moving into the summer months, you may have graduations and vacations in mind, even though the fun season is unfortunately, the hot season. It’s time to make the shift from keeping as much warmth in the house to keeping it all outside. Here are some suggestions and tips to follow, for keeping your home cool and staying cool indoors as temperatures rise.
Keep Your AC in Top Shape
Most residences from apartments to large family homes have air conditioning in either central or window unit form. When you’re dependent on these machines, you need to keep them running as efficiently as possible. One of the first steps in doing this is having a programmable thermostat. That way you can set it for a few degrees higher when you’re not at home, and have it gradually lower the temperature while you’re making your commute home. You never want to force the machine to work harder and use more energy by setting the temperature on a low setting when you’ve been away all day. If you depend on window units keep them on energy saver mode.
You’ll want to keep lamps or other heat-producing appliances away from the window units or your thermostat. The increase in air temperature will cause the machines to needlessly cycle on more often. Keep all your vents (or window unit) unblocked so there’s unobstructed air flow. Wash or change your filters regularly.
How to Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning
Now, if you don’t have AC or you just want to use it as little as possible here are other things you can do to keep your home comfortable during the hottest part of the year. Turn off lights in rooms when you’re not in them. Also switch to LED light bulbs; these bulbs are already super energy efficient and give off very little heat.
Alter the setting on ceiling fans so they run in a counterclockwise direction, which draws cooler air up from the floor. If your home has one, a whole-house attic exhaust fan will pull hot air into the attic, where attic vents can dissipate the heat. Placing portable fans in or near windows or a basement door at night can draw the cooler air from these areas into the home.
Close your blinds and curtains. Up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows, and utilizing shades, curtains, and other window coverings can save you up to 7 percent on bills as well as lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. Purchasing blackout curtains, which are made to block sunlight, will help this process by reducing heat gain by more than 30 percent. Applying reflective film or window panels will reduce light and heat coming into your home even further.
Changing your bedding for the season freshens up a room, but it’s also a great way to keep cool. While flannel sheets and fleece blankets are fantastic for insulation from a chill in the air, cotton and bamboo is a smarter move this time of year—these fabrics breathe easier and stay cooler. You might also consider a buckwheat pillow or two. Buckwheat hulls aren’t dense like memory foam or synthetic fiber fill, so they won’t hold on to your body heat like conventional pillows.
Reducing Heat in Your Home
Try to keep your heat-bearing appliance use at a minimum during the day; try to use them in the evening when it’s cooler. In other words, time clothes washing, drying, and even ironing so you’re not adding heat to linger heat in your home. If you live where you can do so, consider line drying your laundry outside. It makes your clothes smell amazing and saves energy at the same time.
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. Use your oven for baking in the evening when it’s cooler, whenever possible, so it’s not as difficult to release that trapped heat. And if you’re a fan of grilling, this is the perfect time of year for you. You can cook outdoors, and have delicious grilled meats and vegetables without having the temperature increase from cooking in the kitchen.