The key to keeping your house cool in summer is to reduce indoor heat sources and make sure that outside heat stays outside. The following tips and tricks are a winning combination of cooling ideas that also generate energy efficiency.
- During the day, create indoor shade by making use of curtains, blinds, shutters and/or awnings to keep sunlight from turning into indoor heat. Conversely when the outside temperature begins to drop at night, open windows and allow cool air into the home. This will save on your air conditioning bill.
- Ceiling and room fans are great for keeping you cool as you move around your home. However, to conserve energy don’t leave fans running in a room that is empty. Fans do not actually cool air; unlike an air conditioner; they simply move it around making you feel cooler. Also remember the direction of your ceiling fan blades in summer should be counter clockwise.
- When washing clothes or dishes, consider these tips. Wash clothes in cold water and if possible hang to dry. If you must use a dryer, use it at night when temperatures are cooler. Dishwashers, on the other hand, must use hot water, so make sure you only run full loads and don’t run the sanitizer or sterilizer settings. After the rinse cycle, consider allowing the dishes to air dry rather than running a heating element. Once again, run your dishwasher during the cooler day times.
- Use your air conditioning more efficiently. Sources indicate the ideal temperature for thermal comfort is between 23.5ºC (74.3º F) and 25.5º C (78ºF). Use a programmable thermostat and set it higher when you are away from the home or at night when you sleep. Your body can tolerate higher temperatures when you are sleeping – so you can raise the temperature and toss off the covers. Remember for every degree Celsius you raise your thermostat, you can save nearly 10% in air conditioning energy cost.
- In the kitchen, stay cool by using your oven sparingly as oven heat can make the whole house hotter. Try recipes that use a microwave, slow cooker, toaster oven or move outside to a barbeque. Cool meals like salads, etc. are another option. Maximize your refrigerator efficiency and follow recommended manufacturer settings. If your fridge is too cold, it could be costing you money. Additionally, keep your refrigerator reasonably full as solids and liquids are easier to cool than air, but keep in mind not to overfill so you leave enough room for circulation.
Replace incandescent and halogen light bulbs with cooler, more energy efficient LEDs or minimally reduce the use of your incandescent bulbs during hot days. Not only will you save on lighting costs, but incandescent and halogens convert most of their energy to heat which dissipates through the house making the home hotter and causing your air conditioner to work harder.