It’s the peak of summer and the higher temps mean your wallet can really take a hit! It may seem easy to hit the ON switch and blast your AC, but there are a handful of simple things you can do to keep your home feeling cool without breaking the bank. To avoid those costly utility bills – and be more environmentally friendly – follow these easy cost-saving hacks!
1. Close the Blinds
This one might seem like a no brainer, but windows let in 25 percent of summer heat. Block the heat with shades or blinds during the sunniest hours to keep your home cool without running your AC.
2. Hang Blackout Curtains
There’s nothing fun about being woken abruptly by the sun at 5:30 in the morning. Blackout curtains are not only a great alternative to the snooze button, but they also help keep your house cool. Even after you’re awake and moving about, keeping the blackout curtains drawn in rooms you aren’t using will help maintain a lower temperature throughout your home.
3. Use a Portable Fan
Air circulation is key. Using a portable fan will keep air moving throughout your house and won’t drive up your energy bill. You can even try propping a fan on the sill of an open window before it gets too hot outside. This will get cool, fresh air pumping and stop your home from feeling stale or stagnant.
4. Add Plants to Increase Shade
Ok, maybe this is more of a long-term cooling solution, but planting trees near windows that you know allow in too much light will help immensely. Even if it will only provide covering for a couple hours, a tree or large plant can fend off the sun’s rays and keep your home from getting too hot.
5. Set Your Ceiling Fans to Rotate Counter-Clockwise
Something you may not be aware of – a ceiling fan isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it fixture. In the summer, the fan blades should rotate counterclockwise to push the air straight down for the most direct airflow. Increase the fan speed on extra hot days.
6. Insulate Your Attic and Walls
Quite a few things that help keep your home warmer in the winter also help keep your home stay cooler during the hot summer months. For example, insulation: it lowers energy bills by keeping the cool air in and the heat out. Insulation can be surprisingly inexpensive, too.
7. Weather Stripping
Typically deemed as something you do in the winter months, but just as beneficial during the summer, as it keeps cool air from escaping through windows and doors. Weather stripping is very inexpensive and doesn’t take much time to install – you can strip the area around a door in less than half an hour.
8. Perform Household Chores at Night
Large appliances give off significant amounts of heat. Help save energy and reduce the temperature of your home by utilizing appliances at night. Appliances have to work harder and produce additional heat during the daytime. Wait until the evening hours to use your ovens, ranges, dishwashers, and washers & dryers until later in the day when cooler temperatures will offset their output.
9. Try a Dehumidifier
Moist heat can be the ABSOLUTE worst. Dehumidifiers remove the moisture out of stale summer air in your home, making it much more pleasant, even at higher temperatures. Ideally, keep indoor humidity under 60 percent. To be even more cost-effective, use a unit that turns off when humidity drops below your desired level. If you’re not sure which dehumidifier is right for your space, Good Housekeeping has a helpful list of some of the best models to consider.
10. Shut Doors to Unused Rooms
If you absolutely must use your air conditioner, restrict the coolness to where it’s most needed in the rooms that you spend the majority of your time in. Shut doors to areas that do not need to be cooled. An extra step you can take in this effort is to actually close the vents in the rooms you aren’t using. This will allow more direct airflow to the rooms you’re using and also shorten the time it takes to cool those spaces.
11. Consider Insulated Window Film
Window film is incredibly easy to install and offers a ton of benefits, from cutting energy costs and reducing heat, to providing you privacy while still allowing natural light to flow freely into your home. Adding film to your windows can reduce up to 70 percent of solar heat, reduce glare by 83 percent and block 99 percent of UV rays compared to unprotected windows.
12. Switch Out Your Sheets
Your thermal environment, which includes the temperature of the room, is a huge factor in how well you sleep. Breathable pillows and cooling sheets are a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to regulate your body temperature and keep you comfortable while you sleep. Cotton is the best choice in the summer months because of its light weight and breathability. You can also find specialty wicking sheets made from other materials like bamboo and percale.
13. Open Windows at Night
Hot bedroom preventing you from getting a good night’s rest? Take advantage of those brisk summer evenings and open your windows to create a cross-breeze that will help you and your family sleep better. The cooler air will circulate throughout the night allowing you to start fresh with a much more comfortable home in the morning.
14. Say Goodbye to Incandescent Lights
Incandescent bulbs waste an estimated 90 percent of their energy in the heat they emit, so if you’re trying to keep your home cool without purchasing or turning on an air conditioner, small changes like switching to compact fluorescent lamps can cool your home while also lowering your energy bill!
15. Change your AC Filters Regularly
If you’re running the air conditioner frequently, make sure to change your filters every 4-6 weeks, especially during the months with the heaviest use. A dirty filter reduces air quality and the efficiency of airflow. It’s important to know your filter size and keep a few extras on hand. Try setting a reminder in your phone or a date in your calendar so you remember to switch them out regularly.