You may see the title of this post and think, “Wait…I have air conditioning, what more do I need?” It’s true; a great air conditioner can always keep your home at just the right temperature. However, what if your air conditioner didn’t have to work quite as hard? What if you could save some money on your energy bills by keeping your home comfortable during the summer months with a few easy tips and tricks?
The Brown Heating & Cooling team compiled a list of some of our favorite ways to keep your home crisp and cool without spending too much money. After all, that extra cash could go towards a beach vacation or an extra trip to the local ice cream shop!
Close Those Windows (Except at Night)
It may seem like common sense, but when the weather is hot outside it is time to close the windows and keep as much cool air inside as possible. This also has the benefit of keeping allergens and pollen outside at the same time. You want to conserve the cool air that you have lingering in your home so that your air conditioner isn’t working extra hard trying to cool the outside air too!
The only exception to this rule is if the weather is substantially cooler at night. In that case, go ahead and open those windows (with the AC turned off) to let the cool breezes inside. Just be sure to button up the house before it gets hot the next day.
Check Your Shades
Having appropriate window coverings goes a long way towards keeping your home cool. If you don’t have energy saving windows, the light shining through the window panes creates heat, substantially raising the temperature inside your home. Block the sun’s rays by hanging curtains, shades, or blinds that keep the light out. For optimal protection, invest in blackout shades – your rooms may be dark, but if you aren’t at home during the day, it won’t matter. Think about how cool your home will be when you walk into your house after a long day at work!
Invest in Fans
Fans are an excellent resource for a couple of reasons. First, they help to circulate air throughout your home – that is why we recommend them for hotspot rooms where the airflow isn’t adequate. Second, they do an excellent job of keeping us cool by evaporating sweat off the skin.
It’s best to use fans when you are in the house. They’re not particularly useful when you aren’t around, and you’ll waste energy keeping them on in an empty house. If you can, installing ceiling fans is a great way to get a cooling boost and a small cut in energy bills. If ceiling fans aren’t an option, standing fans work as well. You can even go the old-fashioned route and put ice in front of your fan for extra cooling power.
Avoid the Oven
When it is extra hot outside the last thing you want to do is add more heat to your environment. During hot spells, stick to foods that don’t require cooking (like salads), or keep the heat outside by using your grill.
While you are avoiding the oven, start making friends with your freezer. Frozen fruits and treats can help to keep you cool, as can a nice (non-alcoholic) beverage in a cup filled to the brim with ice cubes. Avoid alcohol – while that margarita may seem refreshing, it is actually dehydrating.
Turn Off Incandescent Bulbs
There is more than one reason to switch to LED light bulbs. Besides being more energy efficient, LED bulbs do not produce the same amount of heat that incandescent bulbs create. If you have light fixtures in your home that require incandescent bulbs, keep them turned off during the hottest parts of the day.
Break Out the Summer Clothes
The summer months are not the time to put on your favorite flannel shirt and a heavy pair of jeans. For lounging in your home, opt for lightweight fabrics that wick moisture away from your body and naturally keep you cool. Fibers like cotton and linen are perfect this time of year. Avoid dark colors as well – they absorb rather than reflect like, which can make you uncomfortable.
Switch Your Bedding
Summer is also not the time for flannel or jersey sheets! Instead, switch heavier sheets with cotton percale, which is crisp and cool. If you enjoy the feel, linen sheets are also an option and do a great job of regulating your body temperature.
You can also try the old-school trick of putting your top sheet in the freezer before going to bed. It may be too chilly for some folks, but when it is stifling hot outside the cold can be refreshing.
Give Yourself a Break During the Day
Instead of doing chores during the day, why not flip your schedule when possible. Trying to clean when the outside temperature is at its hottest is only going to make you uncomfortable. Holding off on some chores until the evening or even later at night allows you to relax when the summer heat is at its peak. Plus, you won’t be tempted to crank the AC to cool yourself down.