Summer In The Desert
The desert regions of the nation usually experience extremely hot summers. With the dry atmosphere, limited shade and piercing sun, desert temperatures can easily reach into the triple digits, making the house a very uncomfortable place to live and sleep. Fortunately, there are a lot of measures one can take, not only to cool off the house in the peak of summer, but save some money as well.
Air Conditioning bills can skyrocket in the summer and take up as much as 43% of the utility bill. But cooling off the house is completely necessary to survive in comfort. The first thing to do is to replace and/or maintain the current air conditioning unit. Units in the desert regions can fill up with dirt and start to work improperly. Old units or ones that have fallen into disrepair can use up much more energy than their newer counterparts. Another very simple plan to save energy is to program the thermostat to shut off or raise the temperature while no one is in the home or during the night.
Block Out The Sun
The main reason that houses heat up so much in the summer is because the sun’s rays pour into the windows. There are many ways to block out some of that sun and take some of the workload off the air-conditioner. People can plant tall, shady trees around the windows, not only to block the sun but also to create a nice ambiance with the plant life. There are also options to install sun-reflecting window screens all the way to blackout curtains to trap the heat from the sun outside the house. There are screens, films, cloths, awnings and all kinds of different reflective materials to keep the heat out.
Try Some Fans
Ceiling fans or plug-in fans use less energy than a big air-conditioner unit. So if the people in the house are going to be spending a lot of time in one room or sleeping, fans can be a great way to cool off a smaller space. Instead of wasting energy cooling the whole house, the fan can be used to save that energy and to an extent, that money. Plus, fans circulate the air, which is important to keep the interior fresh.
Make A Strategy For Cooking
Cooking a meal or baking in the oven can really heat up the house. In the peak of summer, try eating colder foods like salads, microwaving, or at least using the oven for short times in the evening. A great thing about this strategy is that it also saves on the gas bill or electric bill, depending on what kind of stove is in the house.
Insulate The Attic
Insulation keeps the heat or cold inside the room. A badly insulated attic can let out the valuable cold air that is circulating through the house, especially if the air-conditioning vents are running through the attic. Nearly 40% of the cool air can be lost through faulty or too-thin insulation.
Check The Vents And Ducts
Speaking of the attic, if the air ducts and vents run through that spot, they have to be functioning properly as well. Even if the attic is fully insulated, cool air leaking through the ducts would just end up cooling the attic instead of the living spaces of the house. Testing and repairing or replacing the ducting is paramount to not losing the cool air generated by air-conditioners.
Paint The Exterior A Light Color
Dark colors hold the sunlight and the heat generated, and light colors reflect it. If the exterior of the house gets heated up, the hot temperatures can affect the interior, making a stale, muggy space. Painting the exterior a light color will deflect the sunlight and can lower electric bills by 10 to 20%.
Consider The Roof
Similar to painting the exterior color a lighter shade, having a light-colored roof can also deflect the sun and heat. Desert folk can also invest in a metal roof, which deflects the light even more and lasts virtually forever. The cost would go down not only in the electric bill, but also in roof replacement.
Putting It All Together
Combining some or all of these tips together would maximize the cooling power of a desert house while also lowering energy costs. Some of them require a bigger upfront investment, but as the saying goes, “every little bit helps”. So even the cheaper options like planting trees from the local nursery or getting some window screens is a smaller investment than replacing a whole air-conditioning unit, but it will still help tremendously in stopping the sunlight in the desert. +