Keep your home cool this summer with these tips
The balance between being comfortable and protecting your bank account from sky-high utility bills can be hard to find in the summer.
While it could be tempting to let your air conditioner run as much as possible, this is probably not the best strategy for lowering cooling costs this time of year.
Here are some tips on how to keep your home cool this summer without relying solely on air conditioning - saving you time both in the short- and long-term.
Know how and when to run your AC
Running your air conditioner on scorching hot summer days may help provide some cool relief, but you will feel a different type of discomfort when the utility bill arrives in the mail.
So, which is better: Should you run the AC all day so that it doesn’t have to work as hard when you do want to make the home cooler? Or is it better to let the temperature increase a little bit when you aren’t home?
It’s an AC debate that many have had. In fact, it’s all about finding the right balance and determining what is most comfortable for everyone in the house.
If temperatures outside are high, then it is probably best not to try to keep your home at the same temp you do when temperatures are a little more comfortable. You are just going to make your AC run longer.
However, you don’t have to suffer and sweat, either. Consider having a programmable thermostat that you can set to specific temperatures throughout the day. Let your home get a little warmer when you are not home, then have it cooler by the time you return from work.
That’s the best of both worlds.
Cover your windows
Now that we have covered how to better use your AC in the peak summer months, it’s time to talk windows. Sunlight that comes into your home through the windows, for most homeowners, is going to be a primary source of extra heat.
About 30% of the ambient heat that comes into your home in the summer get in through the windows, per Family Handyman. There are some useful hacks that you can use to beat the heat, though.
In general, cover windows, especially those on the west and south sides of the home. If you’re not home throughout the day, then you won’t miss the natural light, anyway.
In rooms you rarely use or are OK with not letting light into, consider purchasing blackout curtains. These can easily block sunlight and offer some natural insulation, too. Try to find curtains that are neutral-colored to further decrease the amount of heat sneaking into the house.
You can also install insulated window films. These will redirect heat during the summer, keeping rooms cooler.
Doors also let heat in
Homeowners wanting to save money on their utility bills need to be smart with how they enter and exit their home.
Obviously, you do not want to have people coming in and out of the house repeatedly in the summer. This just lets more and more heat inside every time the door opens.
You need to be smart about recognizing hot spots in your home, too. It’s best to leave interior doors open if you don’t want to create hotter areas in your home. For example, if someone is going to be opening an interior door that has been closed for longer periods, then they are going to let a burst of hot air into the rest of the home.
This could cause more heat to permeate through the rest of the home, causing your AC to run harder.
However, if there is a specific space that is harder to cool, not used by people frequently and doesn’t kick on the air when only that room or home level gets warmer (like an upstairs), then you could consider shutting interior doors in those spaces.
Finally, make sure the spaces around door frames are sealed well. This will stop air from flowing through into other rooms.
How’s your insulation?
Insulation doesn’t only keep your house warm in the winter. It also keeps it cooler in the summer.
For a long-term investment, you can add insulation to walls and attic spaces, particularly for older homes. Insulation will help keep heat from entering through your walls and ceilings from the outside.
Install and use ceiling fans more often
Install or use ceiling fans more often to help you feel cooler in your home. Moving air creates a wind chill effect and helps people feel cooler, even though the actual temperature in the room does not change much.
Ceiling fans can help you avoid reaching for the thermostat thanks to the comfortable breeze they provide. Just make sure the fans are turning counterclockwise during the summer. This will stir up the cooler air in the house rather than let it sink closer to the ground.
Take care of yourself and spend time outside
These tips have more to do with you and not your home, but they will still help you stay cooler.
One tip is to make sure you are drinking more cool drinks, wearing light clothes, and other ways to focus on lowering your body temperature.
Summer is also a perfect time to grill outside more often. Cooking inside with the oven or stove will only create more heat, so fire up the grill instead.
Get your AC serviced
An air conditioner that is running below its optimal efficiency is only going to work harder to keep the temperature inside your home at the desired level.
This is why you should have your air conditioner unit serviced annually, preferably in the spring before the summer heat wave arrives.
Still, even if temperatures outside have already increased, it’s a good idea to get AC units serviced. Regular maintenance is always more affordable than major fixes and replacements.
Annual services will also help ACs last longer.
Schedule an AC service checkup
Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in a sticky, sweaty situation with a broken down AC unit this summer.
If you do, or if you simply want to make sure that doesn’t happen, then contact our trained and professional staff at Comfortec for all your cooling needs.
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