Stay cool as a cucumber, no matter the temperature outside
The scorching summer weather can be brutal on both your body and wallet, causing discomfort, fatigue, and extra digits on your electricity bills. Luckily, there are many easy ways to insulate your home from heat waves and to create an optimal indoor temperature, so you can sit back, relax, and stay cool. Read on to learn our 13 tips to help you beat the heat—and boost your savings.
1. Close Your Blinds
Up to 30% of unwanted heat finds its way inside through your windows. Closing your blinds or shades can prevent this. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, medium-colored drapes with white plastic backings can reduce heat gains by as much as 33%. Insulated cellular shades also have some of the highest R-values (or insulating properties) of all window coverings and can reduce heat through windows by up to 60%.
2. Replace Your Bedding
Swap out your winter flannel sheets for something more breathable. Shop for bedding made from linen, percale, or eucalyptus, all of which offers some of the best temperature-regulating properties.
3. Perform AC Maintenance
Check your air conditioning unit for any weeds, vines, or other debris that might be clogging it and causing efficiency problems. You can do this maintenance job yourself in between annual professional maintenance for your HVAC system.
In addition, make sure to change the air filter to improve your HVAC’s cooling performance. Clean or replace filters at least every three months—or more often, depending on your system requirements. High-quality high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters will yield the best results.
4. Set the Thermostat Higher
One energy-efficient way to cool your home is to set a consistent temperature on your thermostat (between 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit) with very minimal adjustments. Or consider investing in a programmable thermostat to make needed adjustments for you. Your HVAC won’t have to work as hard as it would if you were to blast it at 65 degrees Fahrenheit for only a portion of the day.
5. Close Vents in Underused Rooms
Partially close the air vents to rooms you use the least, like a spare bedroom or guest bathroom. This will keep your bedroom, living room, and kitchen—the rooms you probably use the most—the coolest.
6. Keep Vents Clear of Blockages
Blocked vents will increase the pressure on your air conditioner and prevent the house from cooling consistently or evenly, so make sure they aren't blocked by furniture and remove any dust or debris that might be clogging them up.
7. Set Ceiling Fans to Run Counterclockwise
Believe it or not, your ceiling fans have seasonal needs. During the summer, set the blades to turn counterclockwise, which will pull hot air up and away from you instead of sending it down into the room.
8. Check Your Insulation
Hopefully, you already checked your insulation over the winter, ensuring your home was keeping in hot air. But insulation is important during the hot summer months as well, as it also prevents cold air from escaping. Have a local insulation expert check that you have adequate levels for the size of your home.
9. Strip Your Doors and Windows
Weather stripping, like proper insulation, helps your home maintain its optimal temperature. Add weather stripping to your doors and windows to ensure no cold air inside leaks out or hot air gets in.
In addition, you can add window insulation films to your window. This thin, transparent laminate can provide up to 98% infrared heat reduction compared to unprotected windows.
10. Use Big Appliances at Night
Ovens, washers, dryers, dishwashers, and other large appliances can generate a lot of heat. Run these machines in the evening or overnight when the temperature drops. Also, consider grilling instead of baking or roasting to keep that hot oven off all season.
11. Invest in a Dehumidifier
If you live in a humid area, the added moisture in the air coupled with high temperatures can make the heat feel much worse than it is. A dehumidifier will pull the moisture out of the air in your home, making it feel much cooler. To save on electricity, purchase a unit that automatically shuts off when it reaches your desired humidity level.
If you think you need a whole-house dehumidifier, call your top-rated HVAC pro near you to install one for you.
12. Plant More Greenery
Vines can provide shade and insulation. Plant quick-growing varieties on a trellis against your home’s south- or west-facing exterior walls to shield the house from the sun and lower the overall temperature inside.
Plant trees, as well. Daytime air temperatures can be as much as 6 degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.
13. Prevent Overexertion
Exercise or perform yardwork and gardening in the early morning or as the sun starts to go down, when temperatures are lower. And don’t forget to drink lots of water to help your body cool itself down. This way, you and your family can remain comfortable when you're indoors instead of feeling the need to drop the thermostat to combat overexertion or overheating.