10 Best Ways to Keep Your House Cool During the Hot Summer Months
Summer is here and the heat is on. You could end up paying a small fortune in air conditioning costs to keep your house cool, especially if you live in a hot climate like California or Florida. However, soaring inflation means you need to pinch pennies more than ever — how can you reduce your home energy needs while staying comfortable?
Fortunately, the right tricks can shave significant money off your monthly bills without leaving you and your family sweating. Consider these 10 best ways to keep your house cool during the hot summer months.
1. Create Exterior Shade
It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of an August heat wave or a January blizzard — the inside of a cave remains a steady temperature all year. It’s insulated against outside elements, including the sun’s rays. Since all the heat on Earth comes from this celestial neighbor, blocking it from reaching your house in the first place will considerably drop internal temps.
Your first course of action is to plant some trees. You can find species that thrive in nearly any climate, like stately cypress and arborvitae. Be sure to keep them at least 20 feet away from your home’s foundation to avoid roots causing cracks and prevent overhead limbs from crashing through your bay window during a storm.
Fencing can also cast considerable shade, particularly on lower-level windows. Look for materials like stone, as this doesn’t generally require routine maintenance. If you opt for wood, select materials like cedar with natural oils to keep pests at bay and prevent moisture from warping the timber. Then, you only need to put on a thin protective coating every few years.
Adding a roof to your decks and patios shades the windows beneath them. It also provides a pleasant place to enjoy outdoor living without the sun’s direct rays.
2. Service Your HVAC and Program Your Thermostat
Do you have pets or smokers in your home? If so, neglecting filter changes could severely decrease your home’s energy efficiency. The EPA recommends doing so every few months, although you might need more frequent changes. Time it with your rent or mortgage payment to make it a snap to remember. Additionally, filters with 2-inch-to-4-inch fibers instead of a 1-inch layer reduce your family’s risk of infectious disease.
Furthermore, program your thermostat. If you and your family aren’t home during the day, it’s OK to let your temperature go up a few degrees — but too much makes your system do double-duty to cool your place. It’s best to stay within a 5-degree margin. Therefore, if you set the system at 78 degrees when you’re home, adjust it to no higher than 82 or 83 while away.
3. Turn Your Fans
Ceiling fans don’t necessarily keep your air conditioner from running. However, fans can increase your perception of coolness, which helps you turn the overall temperature up a degree without getting uncomfortable. It’s worth installing some ceiling fans or looking at portable table models if you rent.
You should set your fan blades counterclockwise during the summer months. Doing so pushes airflow down, creating a pleasant breeze. Reverse the direction in the winter — there should be a small switch on the side of your fan’s base — to pull warm air up toward the ceiling and reduce your heating costs.
4. Cool in the Morning
The moments just after dawn are the coolest part of a summer’s day. If you rise with the chickens, throw open your doors and windows, then turn on the fans to take advantage of these pleasant temperatures.
Are you a night owl? You might consider turning off the AC and opening the windows before bed. Keep your safety in mind. If you’re a single female living alone on the first floor, you might want to avoid this method unless you have an alarm system to alert you to potential intruders.
5. Close Your Blinds in the Afternoon
The rules change once the sun hits. Those rays streaming through your windows can heat your home on the cheap in the winter but leave you sweltering in July. Close your blinds before the first beams stream through.
Another option to help keep your house cool is one-way window film. This material blocks damaging UV rays while preserving your view of the outdoors. It protects your flooring and furniture and can significantly reduce heat inside your home.
6. Use Your Grill
Have you ever noticed how nice and toasty your kitchen gets while baking holiday treats? Running the oven in the summer is a surefire way to increase your cooling bills.
Instead, why not take advantage of the beautiful weather to get outside and grill? This method of food preparation can significantly reduce fat and calories while imparting an unbeatable flavor. It’s only for steaks — even vegans can enjoy grilled veggie kebabs with a charred freshness you can’t match.
7. Change Your Bulbs
Are you still using old-fashioned incandescent bulbs? If so, you’re spending more than you need on energy each month while heating your home.
Instead, replace these models with more energy-efficient LEDs when the time comes. Such bulbs emit little if any heat and can change the mood of your home. Play around with fun colors — perhaps by adding a relaxing lavender tint to your bedroom?
8. Mist It Up
This suggestion won’t help much if you live where it’s humid. However, folks in dry climates like Arizona can increase their enjoyment of their outdoor living spaces and drop internal temperatures by installing misters around their decks and patios.
These devices emit a mist that can cool the surrounding air by up to 30 degrees — reducing sweltering triple digits to a more pleasant early summer climate. The water absorbs the heat from the air as it evaporates, meaning it won’t flatten your hair.
9. Use Light Colors
Painting is one of the most cost-effective home upgrades with a great ROI. It can also help keep your house cool if you stick to light shades.
Light colors reflect the sun’s visible wavelengths, meaning they absorb less heat. Your interior surfaces will stay cooler. Your perception also plays a role, with the human eye associating lighter shades with cooler temperatures — perhaps because it’s the same hue as snow.
10. Run Your Attic Fan
You should run your attic fan. Doing so can cool this space by as much as 30 degrees, resulting in an overall 5-degree difference throughout your home. It also costs far less energy to use than your air conditioner.
Fortunately, installing one of these devices isn’t as tricky as you think. However, you can always hire a professional contractor if you doubt your DIY skills.
Keep Your Cool
Summer is here. Just as you thought you were safe from high winter heating bills, you have to worry about cooling your home.
Follow the 10 tips above to keep your house cool and comfortable. You and your family will enjoy greater comfort while decreasing costs, saving energy and lowering your carbon footprint.