Summer temperatures are scorching this year, with heat waves rippling across the U.S., Europe, and China. As if that weren’t bad enough, inflation means that many people can’t afford to simply crank up the A/C.
But you can keep your home cool in the summer without turning down the thermostat. It’s largely a matter of keeping the summer heat out of your home, using fans to make your home feel cooler, and installing a programmable thermostat, if you don’t already have one, so you can schedule your A/C to run when you’re not home. These five tips will help you keep your home cool, without spending more money on air conditioning.
Block Heat from the Windows
Anyone who’s ever parked a car outside on a hot summer’s day knows how quickly things can heat up when the sun beats down through your windows. The same thing happens inside your house, though to a lesser extent. The sun beating through your windows all day can warm up the inside of your house, often making it too warm for comfort.
Blocking out the sun can help keep things cool inside. Put UV protection film on your windows and hang window treatments that block out the light, especially on east- and west-facing windows. Keep your curtains closed during the day to keep the heat out.
Avoid Heat-Generating Activities Inside During the Day
Anything you do that creates heat inside your house will require your A/C to work harder, using more electricity, to cool things back down. Avoid using your oven, putting your clothes in the dryer, or doing other activities that generate heat inside the house during the day. You may even want to prepare cold foods to eat during the day so you don’t have to use the range. Save cooking and baking, drying your clothes, and other heat-generating activities for the nighttime, when it’s cool outside and your A/C won’t have to work as hard to cool the house back down.
Turning on a fan can make it feel up to four degrees cooler in the room, not because it actually cools the room down, but because it creates a breeze that makes you feel cooler. Ceiling fans are perfect for controlling the climate inside your home. If you have pets, ceiling fans won’t stir up the wads of pet fur you probably didn’t know you had laying around, like floor fans will. And they’re cheap to run; it costs about 6.5 cents to run a ceiling fan all day, 24 hours a day.
Don’t have ceiling fans? You should consider installing some. Sure, it’s an investment, but it’s one that will quickly pay for itself in energy savings. It’s pretty easy to replace a light fixture with a ceiling fan yourself, and you can buy ceiling fans with lights if you still need the light fixture.
Put in a Programmable Thermostat – and Use It
You can cut your cooling bill by as much as 10 percent over the course of the year by programming your thermostat to keep your home cool only during those hours when you’re at home. During the hours when you’re not at home, you can program the thermostat to turn itself up by as many as 10 degrees, and slash your energy bill.
Of course, you have to have a programmable thermostat. A smart thermostat is your best choice, because you can control it remotely using your smartphone. That way, if you’re coming home early one day, for example, you can login to your thermostat and tell it to start cooling your home early so it can already be comfortable when you arrive. Or, if you’re going to be late, you can reset the thermostat so you don’t waste electricity cooling your house during hours when you won’t be there.
Open Your Windows at Night (and Only at Night)
While it might be pretty tempting to open your windows during a heat wave, doing so only lets hot air into your house. Keep your windows firmly shut during the day, but open them at night when it cools down. This will let cool air into your house, and when you wake up in the morning, you can shut your windows again before it gets hot, trapping the chill night air inside and reducing your cooling bill.
This summer has been a scorcher, and it only promises to get even hotter. Do everything you can to keep your home cool, and avoid turning up the A/C.