We’re getting into the dog days of summer. If you looking for creative – and cost-effective – ways to beat the heat, here are some tips to make your home a cool summer hangout spot, not to mention safer and healthier!
DO: Turn off your air conditioner if you will be leaving your home for more than an hour. This will cut cooling costs and increase overall energy efficiency in your home.
DON’T: Crank your thermostat to a lower than normal temperature when you return. It won’t make your home cooler any faster, and will only increase your summer energy bills.
DO: Use your microwave, stovetop or even BBQ grill to cook your meals on hot days. These methods of food preparation produce less ambient heat, and have less of an effect on your home’s temperature.
DON’T: Use your oven on extremely hot days. The heat that escapes from opening and closing the oven door can greatly increase the temperature of your kitchen and home.
DO: Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs. Ninety percent of the energy generated by incandescent bulbs comes in the form of heat. CFLs generate much less heat energy than incandescent bulbs; LEDs run much cooler.
DON’T: Leave the lights on in unoccupied rooms. Save money on your electric bill by turning off lights when not in use.
DO: Try to use a variety of ventilation techniques. Using the right combination of natural ventilation, window fans and ceiling fans can create a much cooler home and uses relatively little energy. When using ceiling fans, be sure that you have the motor set to run the blades counterclockwise, which will blow cool air down.
DON’T: Just try to ventilate your home with open windows on extremely hot and humid days. This will actually increase the indoor temperature, and is particularly ineffective in hotter and more humid climate areas of the country.
DO: Use interior blinds on windows to help keep rooms cooler. When the slats are closed, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45 percent. White blinds are most effective, as they reflect more direct sunlight.
DON’T: Ignore cracks and gaps between your windows and the outside. Even small areas that aren’t properly sealed can lead to major interior heat gain in the summer. Caulking and weather stripping can be a cost effective way to minimize added heat to your home.