As we head towards summer, it is safe to say that we can expect soaring temperatures thanks to global warming. While this will have most people reaching for their air conditioner remotes, we should also think about saving as much energy as possible not only to reduce costs but also to save the environment. With that in mind, check out these cheap ways that will help you keep your home cool and reduce the workload on your air conditioner.
1. Use blinds and curtains
A major reason for indoor temperatures rising is heat coming in through the windows. Using blinds and curtains to prevent the heat from entering your house can reduce temperatures by up to 20 degrees. Neutral colored curtains with plastic backing are particularly effective in deflecting heat. If the sun is particularly hot in your area, you can invest in blackout curtains that will help to insulate the rooms and mitigate rising temperatures by 33 percent. Even better are thermal curtains which have a thick double or triple layer of heavy fabric and insulate material to keep the heat out.
2. Fix your fan
There are a couple of tips to bear in mind when using fans during summer. To begin with, while the fans should be set to rotate clockwise during winter to push the warm air down, they should be made to rotate counter-clockwise in summer in order to maximize the wind chill effect and cool the room with maximum efficiency. Choose fans that have angled blades as opposed to flat blades. Remember to keep your fans clean and well-oiled so that they can operate at optimum level. Tighten any loose screws in the fan as it won’t cool your room well if the blades wobble.
3. Plant trees
Planting trees can not only fight climate change, they can also help to keep the house cool. While this requires a bit of planning and can take some time to achieve results, trees are an extremely useful tool in keeping temperatures down. Apart from providing shade and blocking out the sun, plants and trees also emit oxygen and water vapor, which further help to control scorching summer heat. A heavily planted garden can help you reduce temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees. Palms, banana plants, sunflowers, dwarf fig trees and lemongrass are just some of the foliage that you can use for this purpose.
4. Keep yourself cool
You can avoid overworking your air conditioning by wearing clothes that will keep you cool. Wear shorts instead of pants and opt for short sleeved shirts instead of long sleeved ones. Don’t wear clothes made of wool and fleece; go for loose, lightweight clothes made of cotton or natural fabrics instead. Silk or satin makes for very soft sheets but can trap heat, preventing you from having a cool night’s rest. Try to sleep on breathable bedding such as cotton sheets. You can also keep your body from heating up by drink plenty of ice water and cold drinks.
5. Get to the roof of the problem
Using the correct roofing material can go a long way to keeping your house cool during the summer months. While this is something you should take into account if you are building a house, you could also consider replacing an existing roof if you happen to live in a particularly hot climate and have a roof that heats up your house. The best roofing material from a cooling standpoint are terra-cotta tiles. While these tiles are attractive and very effective in deflecting heat, they are also expensive and heavy. Concrete slab roofs are an excellent choice for people who want a more cost effective solution. You can also buy concrete tiles that have a similar design to terra-cotta tiles and promote enhanced cooling. If you have a metal roof, you can keep your home cool by painting it white to reflect the heat.
6. Suck out the heat
Box fans in windows can be effective in combating heat. Place them facing outward so that they can vent the hot air out, leaving your rooms cooler. Also don’t forget to use the fan in your bathroom when you are bathing. This will reduce excess moisture and suck out the hot air, leaving you feeling comfortable and refreshed once you are done with your bath. Another exhaust fan that is particularly useful is the one attached to your stove, so be sure to use it especially if you have to cook during the day.
High humidity can be a major factor in making you feel uncomfortable in hot weather. In dry climates, your sweat easily evaporates, but in areas where there is high humidity, your perspiration sticks to your body without evaporating, making you feel sticky and uncomfortable. Excess humidity can make the weather feel as if it is several degrees hotter. In such areas, you should consider investing in a dehumidifier that will reduce the humidity and make you feel cooler. Without the high humidity, you may be able to make do with the fan instead of using expensive air conditioning.
8. Switch off heat-generating appliances
The last thing you should be doing when you are trying to beat the heat is using your 400 degree oven. Use your stove or oven sparingly and schedule your cooking so that you are not using these appliances during the day when it is hottest. Instead, use them in the early morning or in the evening. Only use your microwave during the day. If you have an outdoor grill, this is a great time to start using that instead. Don’t forget to switch from incandescent light bulbs, which emit 90% of the energy they consume as heat, to cooler LED ones.
9. Cool your attic
Attics heat up to 20 to 30 degrees more than the rest of the house. If hot air is allowed to accumulate in the attic, it can heat up the entire house. One way to keep your attic cool during summer is by installing an attic fan, which can either be roof mounted or gable mounted. You can even install a smart attic fan that automatically adjusts its speed according to the outside temperature. Another way of cooling your attic is by completely insulating it. This will prevent it from heating up and also stop the hot air in the attic from warming the interior of your home.
10. Get better doors and windows
Good doors and windows can play a big role in beating summer heat. Make sure that your doors and windows provide good insulation and tight seals to help the air conditioning work effectively. In many houses, cooled air escapes through doors and windows putting a great deal of strain on the air conditioning. Stopping the leaks will enable your air conditioner to cool the room faster and reduce your energy bill. If you live in an area with very strong sunlight during the summer, consider putting a tint on your windows. This will help block some of the heat coming in and reduce the glare. You can even buy a smart laminate that can darken your windows at the press of a button, allowing you to you’re your windows clear at night.
If all else fails and you simply can’t do without air conditioning your home, then at the very least you should invest in a new, more efficient air conditioner that will save you money on your electricity bill. Over the past 10 years, air conditioners have become at least 6 times more efficient than older units. Maybe it’s time you replaced yours?>/P>
This article was written by Julia Montague – check out her author bio here