Now that we are well into spring and moving toward the hotter months, it is inevitable that, at least here in Hampton Roads, we’re going to be experiencing some temperatures that’ll make us want to keel over in the house with the AC blasting. Sometimes, though – a minor home adjustment can be an effective method to deal with that thermometer number that keeps going up and up. Here are 7 ways to stay cool and save money:
#1: Use Your Blinds and Curtains
If you have untreated windows, you’re letting a shocking amount of unwelcome heat into your home. You’ll definitely want to add blinds and/or curtains in order to keep direct sun out. This is a great way to reduce the amount of incoming heat and it’s a nice enhancement to the home. Insulated or blackout curtains are especially helpful as they prevent sunlight and UV rays from entering the room, and as a bonus, they also help hold heat inside the room during the winter.
#2: Utilize Fans
Fans are a saving grace during the summer because even though they don’t actually decrease the temperature in the room, they do a great job of circulating the air, making you more comfortable and leaving you refreshed. It’s important to make sure that your fan is rotating counterclockwise during the summer; this pushes cool air downward and helps keep you feeling cooler without actually affecting the temperature of the room.
#3: Keep Your Fridge and Freezer Closed
As tempting as it may seem to leisurely browse the contents of your fridge on a hot day, you’re actually forcing your fridge and freezer to work harder, increasing the air temperature inside these appliances. Counteract this temptation by thinking about what you want to pull out before you even open it; maybe even make a list of the fridge and freezer’s contents to reduce the times you are actually opening it.
Here’s a fun little experiment to try: While you already have the freezer open, grab some ice cubes and put them into a bowl. Place the bowl in front of a fan so that the airflow blows over the ice and creates a cool breeze. Then sit right in front of the fan. Ahhhhhhh….
#4: Cool Down with Evening Air
Cooler temperatures and low humidity in the evenings can be delightful in the springtime. Harness those lower temperatures by temporarily opening windows to strategically draw cooler air into the home. You can even enhance the effect by placing a small fan pointing into the room to draw the cool air from the outside in. As many of us work all day, and our homes are closed up – it can be refreshing to naturally air out our homes and enhance our comfort at the same time.
#5: Turn Your Lights Off
This isn’t just an energy saving tip. Light bulbs can give off a surprising amount of heat especially in smaller and upper-level rooms. Lamps and light fixtures can generate even more heat than ceiling lights so if you don’t need the light, its generally a good idea to turn it off. Thankfully, with the longer daylight hours approaching, we will need less artificial lighting.
You can also switch to light bulbs that produce less heat than incandescent bulbs, like compact fluorescents and LED bulbs. But in general, it’s best to keep lights off during the hottest parts of the day to prevent overheating and excessive electricity usage, which leads to higher energy bills.
#6: Minimize Use of Appliances
It can be eye-opening when we learn how much heat your household appliances give off. We talked in our last article about how much energy operating your oven requires, but really – all of your appliances – from your slow cooker and countertop oven to your dishwasher and washer/dryer pair – are not always your friends during the summer. They can generate a lot of heat in order to perform their operations. Take measures to limit the use of the bigger appliances: utilize the smallest, less energy-intensive appliances you can to effectively cook your meals; cook in large batches; wash dishes by hand; and hand wash clothes and hang them to dry.
#7: Turn Off and Unplug Electronics
Televisions and computers can produce a great deal of heat so when they are not in use, leave them off. Especially try to avoid leaving them on overnight so they are not just sitting there producing heat while you sleep. And when your electronics are off, unplug them too. Household electronics can still generate heat when they’re off and plugged in.
Enjoy the springtime weather, and prepare for the heat to come. In the meantime, we are always available to answer any questions you may have about warm weather comfort and ways to make your home cooler and more energy efficient.