In summer, your air conditioner will probably work overtime to keep you cool. There are other ways you can keep your home even cooler and feel more comfortable while saving on your cooling bills. Here are some of the best tips for beating the heat this summer.
Create a Breeze
Using fans, especially ceiling fans, makes everyone feel cooler. It won’t decrease the actual temperature in your home, but it will make you feel cooler by helping your perspiration evaporate.
As the sun’s hot rays strike your windows and exterior walls, your home absorbs a lot of that heat. In summer, this means your home can heat up very fast, especially if you lack shade trees on the south or west facing sides. Tall arbors covered in vines offer natural and attractive shade to alleviate some of the sun’s impact. Whether arbors are the right method for you to use will depend on several things, including your home’s external architecture.
Create a Vertical Garden Wall
An alternative similar to using arbors is to create a vertical exterior garden wall. Unless you are handy with tools, it’s best to purchase these premade and hang them on the outside of the home. Vertical gardens are best used on walls rather than for covering a window, and so you will still need to find shading for windows. If you do use a vertical garden in front of a window, make sure you leave enough space to exit the home in case of fire.
Retractable awnings are an easy way to create shade, and they can be left in place all year long. Many of the top models have a remote control feature, which means that you can extend or retract the awning at the push of a button.
Use Patio Umbrellas
This cooling solution is best for homes with south-facing windows that overlook a patio. Placed close enough to the home, patio umbrellas can offer some temporary shade to walls and windows. This solution is most suitable if the side of your home facing the south or west happens to be the backyard or a side yard.
Shutters are available in many materials, such as wood, aluminum or vinyl. If you use wood shutters, any color is fine, but if you choose metal shutters, make sure they are a bright color to reflect heat since darker metal will heat up and partially defeat the purpose.
Use Heat-Reducing Window Dressings
Indoors cover your windows with insulating draperies. You can find these at most home retail stores. They are often labeled as energy-efficient or blackout curtains.
Humidity will make your home feel hotter no matter what the thermostat reads as the actual temperature. Using a dehumidifier will go a long way towards making your home feel cooler, but you can also take other steps. These include using fans to keep air flowing, using your washing machine and dishwasher only at night and using exhaust fans to draw humid air out of bathrooms and the kitchen.
Most people get into the habit of leaving the television and other electronic items on and plugged in. This uses extra electricity and it adds heat to the home. It might not seem like much heat, but it does add up. Try to remember to turn off and unplug items such as toasters, computers and the television set when you aren’t using them.
Avoid Using the Oven
The oven heats up the kitchen fast and this heat doesn’t have anywhere to go but to the rest of the house. In summer, avoid cooking in the oven. Instead, stick with foods you can quickly heat in the microwave or on the range. Better yet, cook outdoors when you can.
Ventilate the Attic
The hot air building up in your attic needs somewhere to go or it will radiate through the ceiling, joists and walls and increase your home’s temperature. Have an HVAC professional come out to inspect your attic to ensure that the ventilation system is functioning properly.
Add Attic Insulation
Another important feature of the attic is insulation. If your attic doesn’t have enough insulation, the heat will transfer easily into your home through your ceiling. Call an insulation professional to check your existing insulation and add new insulation if necessary.
Prevent Hot Air from Entering
When you open a door, it isn’t so much that cool air rushes out but that hot air rushes in. This is because heat is attracted to cold and seeks to displace it. If your home has many gaps and cracks between the indoors and exterior, more hot air can enter and make your home feel warmer in summer. The best way to handle this is to look for sources of these leaks, which can include foundation cracks and loose seals around doorframes, and seal them.
The more you can create shade, reduce indoor humidity and avoid gaining heat through air leaks, the cooler your home will be. Permanent solutions that last from year to year are best because they relieve you of concerns about next summer. However, until you can get permanent installations, such as awnings and ceiling fans, use quick methods, such as window dressings and floor fans, to keep your home cooler this summer. +