As the weather warms and our lives begin to move outside, let’s take some time to think about keeping our homes a place where we can keep cool, but without spending all of our cold hard cash.
First, let’s look at our lifestyles and how they change with the warmer weather. Most people begin to move outside more, and that means opening doors more. Especially if you have kids. If you have children like mine your doors will be opened during the summer about once every 3.4 seconds, which presents a challenge to the air conditioner. Some tips on keeping the cool inside;
Make a plan– Discuss with your family which doors to use and ways to eliminate the need to go in and out as often. If the toughest spot in the house to keep cool is the front living room, maybe going out through the garage or a side door would be better.
Closing hinges- Put automatic-closing hinges on doors, so if children forget to close the door- it will close itself.
Solve Problems- Do the kids need to come inside for a glass of water every time they’re thirsty or can they use the garden hose to get a drink? Maybe installing a drinking fountain outside is a good idea. Eat more cold meals during the summer. Using your stove and oven can dramatically increase your home’s temperature.
Before it gets hot you might want to check how efficient your home is- do an audit;
-Check your attic, garage walls and basement to make sure your home is insulated to DOE-recommended levels for your geographic area. Look for the R-value in insulation you buy, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.
-Install attic fans- these fans suck the heat out of your attic and reduce your home’s internal temperature, as well as dramatically increase the efficiency of your air conditioner
-Install a hot-water heater blanket to increase its efficiency
-Do you have drapes and shades on windows to close out the heat during the hotter times of the day?
-Ceiling fans can help circulate the air and help the efficiency of the air conditioning.
-Install a programmable thermostat that can allow your house to be warmer while you’re away, but then cool it down during the hours you’re home.
-Trees can give natural shade to your home, in addition to their many other benefits.
-Get your air conditioning serviced to make it’s running properly- and clean or replace it’s filters.
-Check the weather stripping around doors and the seals around windows to ensure they are in good condition.
-Low-E windows can reduce your cooling bills substantially, especially if your current windows are single-pane or in disrepair.
-Shade your air conditioning unit. This cuts down it’s workload substantially
Hydrate your body well. Drinking a lot of water will keep your bodies internal temperature down and replenish it with necessary moisture. When your body heats up it loses much more heat than normal and needs extra water.
Wearing light clothing or materials that breathe can also keep you cool during the summer. Fabrics like synthetics allow your body to breathe and cool itself much better than other sorts of material. Heavy shoes can also keep you hot. Consider flip flops or light shoes.
Wear sunscreen. Sunburns don’t just hurt, they also keep you hot. Avoid the burn (and skin cancer) by increasing your SPF.
Of course, there are other ways to keep cool…