Summer is nearly here! I can almost feel it's hot breath on the back of my neck. It reminds me that I need to get myself ready for those hot days coming up. I'm fortunate enough to have central air in my house, but man, it can get expensive in those hot months! I've compiled some tips to maximize on keeping our houses cool while at the same time minimizing our energy use and cost.
1. Use those ceiling fans
Ceiling fans help to circulate the air. It helps you feel cooler so you can run the air conditioner less frequently. Make sure that when you look up at the fan it is turning in a counterclockwise direction.
2. Use a programmable thermostat
There's no need to run the a/c when you aren't home. At the same time, though, you don't want to come home to a sweltering house that's been locked up all day. With a programmable thermostat you can set the temperature higher during the hours you are away, but have it start to cool the home down about an hour before you get home. A nice welcome after a long day at work.
3. Don't let the cool air escape
Cracks can form around our windows and doors and cool air can escape out of them. It's a good idea to keep good weatherstripping on your doors and your windows caulked. This is a yearly maintenance item that will save you both in the summer and winter months.
4. Give your lightbulbs some thought
Traditional lightbulbs burn hotter than LED and CFL bulbs. They also use more energy. Switching out old bulbs for the more efficient ones can save you money on your monthly power bill and keep you cool at the same time.
Turning off lights when they are not needed can also help keep your home cooler.
5. Perform regular maintenance on your HVAC System
It's a good idea to have your furnace and A/C serviced each year before the start of the season. The HVAC tech will tune up the machines and check them to make sure they are running at their most efficient. This will help them to last longer. It also saves you money when they run at their optimum performance.
6. Shade your house
There are different ways to shade your house. The hottest sun will come from the south and the west sides. For a long term strategy plant shade trees on those sides of your home to help protect from the sun in the hottest parts of the day. You can also use plants to shade the a/c unit outside. Just make sure they don't block any airflow to the unit.
Another, more immediate way to shade your home is to keep your curtains and blinds on the south and west sides of your house closed to keep the sun out.
7. Use that grill
Finally, when it's hot outside, use that grill for dinner rather than cooking inside and heating up that house even more. Nothing says summer better than hotdogs and hamburgers grilling outside with a nice big slice of watermelon. You'll be cooped up inside soon enough when that winter snow comes back. Take advantage of this beautiful weather while at the same time keeping your home the cool oasis you love.
Those are my tips for keeping your cool in these upcoming summer months. I certainly love this time of year. I also love that my home is there to cool me off after a day of playing outside.