Each year, the days seem to be getting a little hotter, and if you live in a warm climate the effect can be especially pronounced in the summer months. Keep an eye on your energy bills and you’ll notice a significant spike in your expenses during this time, as the AC works harder to keep your home comfortable. Here are some steps you can take to keep your home cool and still maintain a reasonable level of energy consumption.
Create more shade
One of the first measures you should look into is some way of reducing the incoming solar radiation to your home. Throughout the day, our homes build up heat through exposure to the sun’s energy, which is a great thing in cold climates, but leads to stifling, uncomfortable conditions in warm locales.
Planting trees for shade is a great long-term solution that also brings the element of nature into your home. A retractable patio awning is another option which lets you control your home’s exposure to the sun; you can increase the shade in summer and draw it back in colder months.
Work on your windows
Heat transfer occurs throughout the thermal envelope of your home, but a disproportionate amount (from 25-30%) takes place through windows. Considering that windows may account for only about 15% of your home’s surface area, focusing on this area and making improvements will be an effective investment.
Measures such as double glazing, or reflective window films, reduce heat transfer; if you seal the windows and draw the blinds, you can keep out a lot of heat and lessen the load on your AC. If you want to try and stay cool without using the AC, solar screens can help while you keep the windows open.
Use electric fans
In many hot regions, humidity accompanies heat and can compound the effect of making you feel uncomfortable all day long. Increasing ventilation through electric fans will provide better circulation throughout your home – not only does this help to evaporate some moisture off your skin, it can disperse humid air through your exhaust or open windows. You can also use fans together with the AC for better cooling efficiency.
Maintain cooling systems
While having increased shade and better indoor air circulation will be helpful, on the hottest days it may not be enough to keep your home comfortable. Some days, you’ll simply need to keep the AC going all day, so make sure that your system is well-maintained. With clean filters and coils, and a sufficient level of coolant, a properly-serviced AC will have less work to do in order to maintain your desired temperature level.
Adjust your habits
Cooling your entire home every day throughout the summer is always going to consume a certain amount of energy, so while you can take other measures to reduce the costs, simple adjustments in the behavior of the occupants will help make a significant difference.
Hanging out in the lower levels, or even the basement, can confine your activities to a cooler part of the home; similarly, if everyone can stay together in one room, the requirements placed on your AC will be greatly reduced. A programmable thermostat also helps to automatically adjust cooling levels if you need to leave the home or go to sleep, for example.
With these measures, it won’t take a drastic adjustment to lower your home’s energy costs this summer as you strive to maintain a cool and comfortable indoor environment.