Cheap Chills for a Hot House: Ways to Keep Cool and Costs down this Summer

sweaty womanNow that we’ve finally beaten our way out of one of the coldest meanest winters in recent history, it’s time to start managing the thermostat in the other direction. For the next 16 weeks or so, folks will be battling the heat of summer. Staying cool is a must, but blasting the air conditioner isn’t an optimal solution if you want to keep energy bills at bay.  So, what can you do to stay cool and keep costs down? We have put together a few simple tricks:

Keep the thermostat at 78 degrees
Every degree below 78 causes your heating and cooling system to work harder, which can increase your bill by about 5%, per degree.

You can also save around 10% on your home heating and air conditioning by using a programmable thermostat, which are more accurate than manual devices. For instance, you can program the air conditioner to shut off automatically during the day when you aren’t home.

When you are away from the house, make sure your thermostat is set to “Auto” instead of “On”. When the thermostat is set to “On”, the motor is left constantly running. Not only is this inefficient, it can actually generate heat.

Use ceiling fans to cool rooms
The energy required to run a ceiling fan vs. an air conditioner is significantly lower. During the hot summer months, make sure the fan blades are pointed down. The angle of the fan blades pushes the air down and creates a comfortable cool breeze, which can forestall use of the air conditioner.

Shades and curtains
Have you ever noticed how much cooler it is in the shade than out under direct sunlight? The difference between the shade and the sun can be anywhere from a 5 to 20 degree difference.

For the windows and doors that face the direct heat of the sun, specifically on the south and west sides of a home, keeping shades and curtains closed can also keep it up to 20 degrees cooler. Using white curtains that reflect the light of the sun away from the house, rather than darker colors, which absorb light and heat.

Other Energy Saving Tricks

  • If your home gets very humid in the summertime, a dehumidifier can help the air feel a lot cooler.
  • Avoid placing lamps or electronics near the thermostat. Extra heat generated by these appliances will tell the thermostat that the air is hotter than it is, and the air conditioner will run when it isn’t needed.
  • Turn off your electronics, including computers, when they are not being used. They generate a lot of heat.

Do you have tips for beating the summer heat?  Tell us here.

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