With summer upon us we all face the same challenge of keeping our homes at a bearable temperature. Of course we can crank up the air conditioner and maintain a chilly living space; however, with rising energy costs and our increased awareness of environmental concerns, there needs to be a better way. Fortunately, there are some great ways of keeping cool without breaking the bank or harming the environment.
A great place to start when trying to keep cool on the inside is on the outside. Stopping the heat before it gets in your house can be simple and very effective. The color of the house is important as dark, dull finishes absorb heat which in turn radiates into the home. Choosing light colored, reflective exterior finishes result in cooler indoor temps and also reduces maintenance costs due to wear on siding and roofing materials.
Landscaping can also play an important role in keeping your house cool. Strategically placed trees and plants can block the sun’s rays from hitting walls, windows and roofs, and also make your home look better. In regions with distinct seasons a leafy tree serves 2 purposes; keeping the sun out in the summer and letting it in during the winter.
Having a hot weather strategy within your home can reduce energy costs and improve comfort levels. Keeping blinds or curtains closed during the day, especially on the sides of the home where the sun is beaming in will keep the temperature down considerably. Making sure the windows are closed during the heat of the day also makes the home more livable. Only open the windows once the outside temperature has dropped below inside levels. Ceiling fans and/or portable fans will keep the air circulating and use far less energy than air conditioners.
Choosing when you run certain appliances, such as clothes dryers and dishwashers, will make a big difference as well. Turning them on just before you leave in the morning will ensure you avoid the heat they put out. You will also want to reduce the amount that you use your oven and stove top; which translates into more outdoor grilling! Instead of reaching for that air conditioner switch, why not take a cold shower or have a soak in a cool tub. Filling the bath tub with cold water before you turn in for the night will help keep overnight temperatures down too.
All of these tips will help you keep cool, save you money, and allow you to do your part for the environment. So, leave the AC off for a few days and try these cooling tricks; you will be surprised at how well they work…Enjoy your summer!!!