The heat is rising, and well, so are the electricity bills. There has got to be more than just running your air conditioning day in and day out. I’ve put together a few tips and tricks that will help you to stay cool, and save money!
1. Don’t Be Stuffy! The first tip is very effective! Let in the fresh air from outside! If you open up your windows at night, when the air is cooler, then close them and draw the curtains/blinds in the day when the sun is out, you might be able to reduce your air conditioner usage! Also consider convective cooling. If you have a two story home, you can crack the lower floor’s windows by a couple of inches, and open the upper floor windows placing portable or window mounted fans in your windows facing outward. This will create a larger draft and remove the rising hot air, while drawing in the cooler air down below.
2. How about a little privacy! Next, close your window shades! If you don’t have curtains or blinds on your windows, you should! If you shut the curtains or blinds on the sunny side of the house, you can keep your home significantly cooler. Look for blinds with highly reflective, lighter colors, and wider slats. The wider they are, the better they work. Some window treatments even offer some levels of insulation. When closing your blinds, turn them upwards (so you have to look down to see the light) to reflect more light back.
3. Use exterior shading! You can do anything from installing awnings, window shutters, or some sort of overhang, but not everyone has the money to buy them, or the time to build them. You can use window boxes and planters to reduce the amount of sunlight that enters your windows. Not only do they cool you down, but they look super pretty too! Don’t forget to water them! You can also, if you have the room, plant some (deciduous) trees or shrubs on the south, east and west sides of your house will keep it cool in the summer and let in sun and warmth in the winter…
4. More expensive, but it works! If you’re looking to replace your windows, you may want to consider looking for windows that have been certified by Energy Star. Not quite going that route? Check into “Low-e” film for your current windows. You can coat the interiors of your east and west side windows to stay cool. Look for a lower heat gain rating for the coolest windows.
5. Splish Splash!! Get a pool!!! I know, not everyone has the room or money for a “built-in” pool. You can pick up a small pool from just about anywhere these days for less than $100! It’s enough to cool you down and you can enjoy the cool water, any time you want! You could also see if there’s a community pool nearby. Some only charge a nominal day usage fee, while others are more expensive and membership based. Either way, you don’t have to do any maintenance to it. All you have to do is enjoy it!
Here are just a few ideas for you. I hope you can stay cool this summer even after the high temps set in…