Image via Flickr by Evan Courtney
You’ve decided not to run the AC as much this summer, but your resolve breaks every time the hottest part of the day strikes. When you want to save energy but still keep your home cool, you must turn to other tricks to keep the stale, hot air from invading your living space. From ceiling fans to window shades, boost your home’s interior cool and use your AC less.
Use Insulating Curtains
During the hottest part of the day, draw insulating curtains across your windows to prevent the sunlight from heating up your rooms. You can put up blackout curtain liners behind the curtains you already have hanging. These liners will block out the light and the heat, leaving you with much cooler rooms to escape to.
Try a Whole-House Fan
A whole-house fan will draw the heat upwards through your house, and expel it outside. You can create the same principle by installing fans in your open windows and have them blowing towards the outside to draw the hot air out. Either way, only use fans when the HVAC system isn’t running, or you’ll be sending your cooled air outside instead of the hot air that builds up.
Open Your Shaded Windows
The windows that are in the shade of big trees can provide you with cool air in the mornings and evenings. Open these windows to let fresh air in when the day isn’t too hot, and when the tree is providing the most shade. Leave them open for as long as the air coming through them feels good. Don’t forget to turn off the AC before you open the windows.
Have Your HVAC System Serviced
Your HVAC system itself can help you save energy if you treat it well. HVAC systems that are in good repair, have no loose parts, and have new filters run more efficiently than old systems that are ready to break down. Schedule HVAC maintenance if you feel like your AC is costing you too much to run. It may need a few repairs. Once the system isn’t working so hard to overcome difficulties like loose parts and dirty coils, it’ll cool your home without sucking down so much energy.
Turn on Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are great if you know how to use them. The point of a ceiling fan isn’t to cool a room, but to make you feel cooler. When a ceiling fan blows air on you, that air causes the sweat on your skin to evaporate. That evaporation process makes your skin feel cooler. Even though the temperature in the room doesn’t change, your body feels different. Turn off the fans when you leave a room because they do use up electricity.
When your home feels cooler, it’s easier to run the AC less. Getting your next energy bill will show the improvement in your energy consumption, giving you the extra boost to keep making the effort throughout the summer. Once you get used to these techniques, they’ll become second nature cooling tactics for you.