Often when the weather warms up, air conditioners get turned on, and our electricity bills go up. There are ways to help keep your house cool without solely relying on the air conditioner, which could help keep more money in your pocket.
Cut back on your use of appliances (particularly the oven and range), reduce your use of hot water, and keep as many lights off as comfortable help to lower the level of heat in your house. Also, avoid unnecessary trips in and out of the house, especially on the hottest days. Heat and humidity come in each time you open the door.
Improvements to your home can also help prevent the outside heat from having as much of an effect inside your home. Adding attic insulation so that it measures at least a foot thick will help keep the heat at bay. Also, installing a light-colored roof allows more heat to be reflected. For windows that receive direct sunlight, sun-blocking window treatments and awnings help keep the heat outside from having as much of an effect on the temperature inside your home.
Ventilate the attic. When the outside temperature is in the 90s, your attic can easily reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Adequately sized vents and/or an attic fan can help keep hot air from building up.
Fan the air
Ceiling fans, floor fans, and window fans can keep air moving to help keep your home cooler. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) if you use a ceiling fan in conjunction with air conditioning, you can raise the thermostat about 4 degrees Fahrenheit without reducing your level of comfort. Also, if you have exhaust fans installed in your kitchen and bathroom, use them to remove humidity and heat when cooking or bathing.
For the heat that still manages to accumulate in your house, natural ventilation can help. According to NREL, natural ventilation works best in climates with cool nights and regular breezes. For natural ventilation, close doors, windows, and window coverings during the day, and open them at night.
By using smaller window openings for the ventilation inlets and larger openings for the ventilations, you can create natural cross-ventilation. NREL suggests making use of it throughout a larger portion of your home by making the air take a longer path between the inlet and outlet. They also advise that air from cooler, shaded outdoor areas provides the best intake air.
Help keep your cool and comfortable this summer. For more information on energy efficiency and safety visit EnergyEdCouncil.org.