As the temperature rises here in Georgia, most of us are looking for ways to stay cool. We rely heavily on air conditioning to keep our homes comfortable and that can be costly. With home maintenance and utility budgets getting tighter and tighter these small steps to keep your home cool this summer should help in lowering the cost without getting you hot under the collar!
Keep your blinds closed. As simple as this tip may seem, up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows, and utilizing shades, curtains and other coverings can save you up to 7 percent on bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. In other words, closing the blinds essentially prevents your home from becoming a miniature greenhouse, which is especially the case with south- and west-facing windows.
You can also invest in blackout curtains. Blackout curtains block sunlight, naturally insulating the rooms in which they’re installed. Consumer Reports recommends neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backings to reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent.
Use a fan instead of turning on the A.C. Not even an air conditioner can give off a faux sea breeze, but this simple trick can. Fill a mixing bowl with ice (or something equally cold, like an ice pack), and position it at an angle in front of a large fan so the air whips off the ice in an extra-chilled, extra-misty state. Trust us: It’s magic.
Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise. You may not realize that your ceiling fan needs to be adjusted seasonally. Set to run counter-clockwise in the summer at a higher speed, the fan’s airflow will create a wind-chill breeze effect that will make you and your guests feel cooler. Turn on your bathroom fans. Or the exhaust fan in your kitchen, for that matter. Both pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your house or apartment.
LET THE COOL AIR IN
Let the night air in. During summer months, temperatures may drop during the night. If this is the case where you live, make the most of these refreshing hours by cracking the windows before you go to bed. You can even create a wind tunnel by strategically setting up your fans to force the perfect cross breeze. Just be sure to close the windows and blinds before things get too hot in the morning.
PLANT BASED SOLUTIONS AND MORE
Make a few long-term improvements. If you’re really, really committed to the whole no-AC thing, you can make a couple changes to your home that will keep it cooler for seasons to come. Insulated window films, for example, are a smart purchase as they work similarly to blinds. And additions like awnings and planting trees or vines near light-facing windows will shield your home from the sun’s rays, reduce the amount of heat your home absorbs and make your investment even more worthwhile.