What To Know About Home Cooling To Help You Save
How about some personal home cooling tips, tips for keeping it cool indoors and outdoors and tips for an energy-efficient AC unit? Sound good?
“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.” – Russel Baker
Trying to figure out how to keep your house as cool as possible during the hot summer months? Home cooling accounts for 20-50% of your annual energy use, depending on where you live, of course. And just in case you’re interested in the green scene, it accounts for 5-15% of your carbon footprint as well. Plain and simple, it costs money, lots of money, but it doesn’t have to. You can cut back on using your air conditioner to save money (and decrease that carbon footprint, too). Here are a few ideas to help you keep your cool without using your AC.
Home cooling tips: personally, indoors, outdoors and for your AC, of course!
Keeping cool personally
Keeping our bodies cool is the number one reason for home cooling, and it’s easy to do.
- Install ceiling fans and/or invest in box or oscillating fans
Ceiling, box and oscillating fans can help you fell up to 5 degrees cooler. If you’ve installed ceiling fans or purchased box or oscillating fans, dust the blades and set them to circulate counter-clockwise to cool the air in summer.
- Take off your clothes (I can’t believe I just said that!)
No, I mean it. Wearing fewer clothes, wearing clothes made with lightweight and airy fabrics, sandals, etc. will help you keep your cool so that you at least do not need to set your AC to 64 degrees.
- Apply cold, wet washcloths to your skin
Store wet washcloths in the fridge or freezer. When you need to cool off place one around your neck, forehead and/or feet to keep from turning down the AC.
- Take a cold shower
Take your daily showers in the late afternoon or evening before going to bed instead of taking showers in the morning. Late showers will cool you off when the temps are still high and you’ve been sweating – yuck! Taking too many showers will increase that already stretched water bill, so don’t take too many just to cool down. (Click here to find ways to save water and more of that money of yours).
- Use peppermint essential oil
Combine water and peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle and spritz on your skin for a cooling effect. Be careful if applying peppermint essential oil directly on the skin, and avoid getting it into the eyes. Side note: Not all essential oils are created equal. Some are chemically processed. I use and enjoy Jade Bloom essential oils. (This is not an affiliate link).
- Eat cold food
Smoothies, salads, fruit and water stored in the fridge, ice cream, iced coffee, etc will help to lower your internal temperature.
Keeping your indoors cool
This is where you want to work to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. You may need to make an initial investment, but any investments you make should pay for themselves quickly.
- Check for drafts
Hot air can creep in through cracks around your windows and doors.
- Install a solar attic fan
A solar attic fan will make your easier to cool. It will decrease the hot air trapped in the attic and decrease your home cooling bill by up to 10% a year.
- Increase the insulation in your home
Increasing the insulation in windows, walls and your attic saves energy by keeping the cool air indoors.
- Close the curtains and blinds
Closing your window curtains and blinds keeps the warm sun from heating up the air inside your home. Keep them closed. Let in indirect sunlight on the shady sides of your house only.
- Avoid using the oven or stove
Using the oven or stove in the afternoon or evening increases the heat inside your home. Learn to cook as much as you can on your grill outside. There are even such neat things as individual burners that you can plug into an outside outlet to boil water for things like pasta and potatoes for potato salad. I suggest you cook that pasta and those potatoes outside in the morning for dinner in the evening. Mmmm … cold food! Don’t forget about the wonderful inventions – the crock pot or toaster oven. Again, you can use them outside to keep the little bit of heat they generate out of the house.
Keeping your home cool outdoors
Caught your attention, did I? The way you landscape or decorate the outside of your home can keep help you keep it cooler indoors. This helps to decrease cooling energy use and save you money, too! (That has such a nice ring to it. Doesn’t it?)
- Plant wisely
Crawling vines on trellises planted in front of windows on the south and west sides of your home will help to insulate your house.
- Plant deciduous trees
Plant trees where they will shade your home from the sun. And when you plant deciduous trees, they will lose their leaves and let the sun in to warm up the indoors in the winter.
- Add awnings to your windows
Again, awnings added to windows on the south and west sides of your home will help to keep the hot sun off your windows.
- Invest in solar screens
Ever hear of solar screens? When you use them on the outside of windows, it makes a huge difference. They are well worth the investment. You can remove them for the winter season.
- Paint your home
If your house happens to need of a paint job, go with a lighter color. Lighter colors deflect light. Dark colors absorb the light.
- Redo the roof
Again, light-colored roof shingles will deflect the light. Dark shingles will absorption the light. And if you roof doesn’t need to be redone, you could paint the shingles with a light color to deflect the hot sun giving you the same effect but for less money!
Finally, home cooling energy-efficient air conditioner tips
There will be times where not turning on the AC is just not possible. Get the most of from your home cooling efforts with the following tips from Blue Frost Heating & Cooling, your HVAC specialists:
- Wait for as long as you can before turning on your AC. Once it’s on, there’s no going back, and you know it!
- Try using an evaporative cooler. Gather your family together in one room and turn on the evaporative cooler in that room. If you place it well, like in a window upstairs, crack a window behind it and another downstairs (on opposite sides of your house), it is possible to keep your entire house cool even in 100 degree weather. Another side note: They work best up to 105 degrees and in low humidity.
- You knew this was coming. But when was the last time you had maintenance done on your AC unit? Annual maintenance is important to energy-efficiency and saving money! Click here to schedule maintenance on your AC unit.
- If you’re AC unit is more than 10 years old, a newer, more efficient model will cut your usage energy costs in half.
- Keep debris away from the outside compressor unit for increased air circulation and more efficient home cooling.
- If your AC unit is outside, shade it. This increases its efficiency.
- Check for drafts in the AC duct work. If you find any, insulate them. This will increase efficiency and decrease the loss of valued cool air.
- Replace your old thermostats with newer models that include timers. We’re giving away Nest Wi-Fi Thermostats with the purchase of a 2-year maintenance agreement.
- Don’t turn your AC off or more than 6-8 degrees higher at night or when you leave for the day. This can cause it to work harder to cool the space when you turn it back on. If you’re going on a vacation for a week or more, yes, turn it down.
- Close vents and doors in rooms not being used, like bathrooms or laundry rooms, for example, but do not close any vents near thermostats.
- Power companies often suggest setting thermostats to 78 in the summer. This can be too low if you’re using ceiling fans, weather stripping, solar screens, curtains and an evaporative cooler. Acclimate your family to higher temps by bumping the thermostat up a degree every week.
Have you got any home cooling tips to share? Please do! We love hearing from our Blue Frost Heating & Cooling customers. Call (630) 444-0860 for answers about keeping your cool this summer!
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