As the summer heats up, does your home get unpleasantly hot? Summer can be punishing on home comfort and on energy bills – but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing ways to keep your home cool can help you enjoy the season better and save money while you are at it!
Sync Your Windows With the Sun
Your windows are an essential part of your home’s beauty, but they are also responsible for about a third of the solar heat entering your home in the summer. Windows are usually one of the most permeable and least insulated areas of the house, meaning that summer heat has an easier time accessing them.
This summer, use your windows to your advantage. In large part, this means opening and closing them to repel midday sun and take advantage of cool summer nights. When the temperature drops in the evening, turn off your air conditioner and open your windows to allow cooler air to circulate in the home. Close your windows in the morning to trap the cool air inside. During the day, keep most windows curtained to block heat from entering. Southern facing windows should be shaded during the day. Eastern facing windows should be curtained in the morning and western facing windows need to be covered in the afternoon. For extra protection from heat, consider installing solar blinds which resist transmitting heat from windows into the house.
Cool What You Need
When it comes to controlling the temperature of your home, the most efficient strategy is simply to cool only the areas of the house you use most. Close doors to rooms and areas of the home you don’t use often, such as closets, pantries, bathrooms and spare bedrooms. Keeping doors closed means less cool air is dispersed in the house into areas you aren’t using, cutting your energy costs without sacrificing much comfort.
Switch Your Ceiling Fans
Did you know that ceiling fans are designed to circulate air in your home year-round and that the direction they are spinning should change with the seasons? In the colder months of the year, fans should spin clockwise to send rising warm air back down into the living space. In warmer seasons, set your fans to spin counter-clockwise drawing warm air up and allowing cooler air to take its place in your living area.
We often associate a well-insulated home with warmth in the winter, but insulation also helps preserve coolness in the summer. Insulating areas like attics can help keep home temperatures more consistent. Replacing drafty doors and windows with better insulated and sealed fixtures also helps preserve the insulating capacity of the home. Even a small break in your home’s insulation can be the source of a costly energy leak.
Change How You Cook
In this case, the adage “you are what you eat” works a little differently than usual: if you cook hot food indoors, you’re going to be hot indoors. A hot kitchen appliance can heat up the whole house and create an extra challenge for your AC. In the summer’s peak heat, consider changing how you cook. Avoid using indoor heat-generating appliances like stovetops and ovens. Instead, opt for outdoor cooking methods like grilling and smoking food. Boost your meals with fresh no-cook options like salads and pureed summer soups and save baking experiments for when the weather cools down in the fall.
In addition to reducing your stove and oven use, you may also be able to cut down on other heat-generating appliances, like dryers. This summer set up a laundry line and use hot sunny days to air dry your clothing. As a bonus, air drying can add an extra fresh feel to clean laundry.
Invest In Your Cooling
If your cooling system needs an upgrade, consider installing a new, efficient in-home mini-split system. Mini-splits make cooling and heating specific areas of your home easy and energy-smart. Room-specific heating and cooling mean that energy isn’t wasted cooling the entire home. Mini-splits are generally more energy-efficient than other air conditioning systems and don’t obstruct windows. While putting in a new mini-split system is an investment, it can keep your home comfortable for decades and considerably reduce your energy consumption.