Follow these timely tips on how to keep your house cool during hot weather and enjoy summer comfort with less air conditioning.
You don’t have to switch on the air conditioner to remain cool and calm–unless you like your indoor temperature like the north pole.
These money saving measures might cause AC wars with your family, guest, pets…
On the other hand, if you live alone, or have the authority to regulate the thermostat with an iron hand, then these tips are for you.
When sunlight enters your house, it turns into heat.
You’ll keep your house cooler if you reduce solar heat gain by keeping sunlight out.
Line them with light-colored fabric that reflects the sun, and close them during the hottest part of the day.
Let them puddle onto the floor to block air movement.
Install them on south and west-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain by up to 77%, says the U.S. Department of Energy.
Make your own by tacking up sheets outside your windows and draping the ends over a railing or lawn chair.
Interior and exterior shutters not only reduce heat gain and loss, but they also add security and protect against bad weather.
Interior shutters with adjustable slats let you control how much sun you let in.
Install Reflectix aluminum bubble wrap, which is an energy-saving window cover on east and west-facing windows.
It or any dark tinted window film will keep you cool in summer, but let in warming sun in the winter.
Mirror-like films are more effective than colored transparent films.
As soon as there is a nice breeze, be sure to open windows when the outside temperature is lower than the inside.
Cool air helps lower the temps of everything—walls, floors, furniture—that will absorb heat as temps rise, helping inside air say cooler longer.
To create cross-ventilation, open windows on opposite sides of the house.
Good ventilation helps reduce volatile organic compounds and prevents mold.
At night, place fans in open windows to move cool air.
In the day, put fans where you feel their cooling breezes (moving air evaporates perspiration and lowers your body temperature).
To get extra cool, place glasses or bowls of ice water in front of fans, which will chill the moving air.
For maximum cooling effect, make sure ceiling fans spin in the direction that pushes air down, rather than sucks it up.
Be sure to turn off fans when you’re not in the room, because fan motors give off heat, too.
Whole House Fan
A whole-house fan ($1,000 to $1,600, including install) exhausts hot inside air out through roof vents.
Make sure your windows are open when you run a whole-house fan.
You’ll save money and reduce heat output by turning off appliances you’re not using, particularly your computer and television.
Powering down multiple appliances is easier if you connect them to the same power strip.
Don’t use heat- and steam-generating appliances—ranges, ovens, washers, dryers—during the hottest part of the day.
In fact, take advantage of the heat by drying clothes outside on a line.
Trees And Vines
These green house-coolers shade your home’s exterior and keep sunlight out of windows. Plant them by west-facing walls, where the sun is strongest.
Deciduous trees, which leaf out in spring and drop leaves in fall, are best because they provide shade in summer, then let in sun when temperatures drop in autumn.
Select trees that are native to your area, which have a better chance of surviving.
When planting, determine the height, canopy width, and root spread of the mature tree and plant accordingly.
Climbing vines, such as ivy and Virginia creeper, also are good outside insulators.
To prevent vine rootlets or tendrils from compromising your siding, grow them on trellises or wires about 6 inches away from the house.
Speaking of shade, here are smart, inexpensive ideas for shading your patio.
The electricity used over the lifetime of a single incandescent bulb costs 5 to 10 times the original purchase price of the bulb itself.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting.
CFLs are simply miniature versions of full-sized fluorescent bulbs.
Also, insulate your water heater and use Reflectix inside cabinets behind exterior walls to prevent heat buildup.
This is the biggie.
For the maximum savings on your electric utility bill, turn on the AC thermostat once every 24 hours.
Or, when it humid and the house becomes muggy or down right unbearable.
In this instance, it’s acceptable to run the AC for an additional hour, yet discipline is key to saving money.
If you have taken all of the above measures to cut your energy costs, then this last step will give you the biggest bang for your bucks.
I find that the best time to turn the AC on for one hour is in the evening when the sun goes down.
That way, the house cools off before bedtime.
Remember to set a timer and turn off all fans before turning on AC.
After one hour of operation, make sure to switch off the thermostat!
If you don’t, then your electric meter keeps spinning like the Wheel Of Fortune.
Many rural frugal fanatics are more interested in saving money than being totally comfortable.