Beat the Heat: Summer Cooling Tips for Your Home

August 2, 2012

It's not news that record heat is wilting spirits across the country and increasing energy bills as everyone tries to stay cool. The best way to keep cool is obviously your air-conditioning, but if you want to save some money and you'd like to be kinder to the environment and try not to burn so many fossil fuels in the process, then here are a few summer tips that may be for you. Ceiling Fans - A ceiling fan can be a great investment and long term it's pennies for cooling power. A ceiling fan can make the area it cools feel six or seven degrees cooler. On average it costs about $10 a month to use your fan if you leave it on 12 hours a day. Remember a ceiling fan is cooling a specific area, not the whole house. So leaving it on when you are not in a room does not help your cooling cause but can increase your energy bill. With good fans, properly placed in rooms that are used most frequently, you are very likely to be able to raise the thermostat and save some money. Just make sure your ceiling fans are set for summer and the air is blowing downward. Portable Fans - Ceiling fans are preferred for optimum alternative cooling, but quality portable fans can also be effective. Even mild air movement can reduce the temperature in an area three or four degrees. Attic Fans - These fans can help reduce heat in your home by pulling hot air out of your attic and circulating cooler air from outside. The heat in attics can reach 120 degrees. An attic fan can help vent this heat and bring cooler air in. Window Coverings - Shades, drapes or blinds can reflect the heat of the sun and keep rooms from heating up. By keeping direct sunlight out of the house, this can help improve the efficiency of your air conditioner and your ceiling fans. Heat Generators in Your Home : You probably aren't even thinking about the heat that is given off by appliances, electrical devices and lighting. Electrical Devices - Keep large heat emitting electrical devices such as TV's away from your thermostat. This can cause a false reading and your thermostat will think it's hotter in the house than it actually is. The system will continue cooling beyond your needs and put a strain on the equipment while putting an unnecessary drain on your bank account. Appliances - Try to keep from cooking during the hottest parts of the day. If you do need to cook, use your ventilating fan for your range. This will vent the hot air out of your house, rather than adding to the heat accumulation inside. Lights - You wouldn't think they have a lot of heat, but get up close to your incandescent lights. These generate heat. Keep lights off when possible, and if you can, change out your light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting and LED lighting. Compact fluorescent lighting produces the same light with a fifth of the energy and heat. Cooler on your environment and lighter on your budget. Plants - Outdoor plantings of shrubs and bushes and trees are two fold. On the one hand you can shield your air conditioning from the sun and reduce the strain on your equipment. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity. Make sure not to block the airflow. You can also use strategic plantings to shade your windows and also help reduce direct sunlight heating up your home. These are just a few cool tips to lower temperatures and lower energy bills.
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