Summertime brings warmer temperatures and better weather, and that means trips to the beach, picnics at the park and more time spent outside in general. Unfortunately, with summer also comes extreme heat and if you’re someone who prefers to stay out of the sun, you’re probably thinking more about how to keep the inside of your home cool rather than spending time outdoors.
Cranking up the air conditioning—especially on extremely hot days—is the easiest and most convenient solution, but you’ll probably find yourself very unhappy with your next utility bill. We’re not saying that you should turn off your AC and languish uncomfortably in the heat, but there are some things you can try to keep the inside of your home comfortable without running up your electricity costs. Here are seven tricks to keeping your home cooler:
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Buy a Dehumidifier:
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If you live in an area with dry heat, such as in Arizona, then your body sweats, that sweat evaporates and then you cool off—simple as that and just the way it’s supposed to be. However, if you live in an area with lots of humidity, such as in states like Florida or Louisiana, then you just sweat and nothing happens. It doesn’t evaporate. Instead, your sweat ends up soaking your clothes and making you feel hot, wet and sticky. Nobody likes that feeling!
Fortunately, buying a dehumidifier can help. A dehumidifier works by removing excess moisture from the air, making the conditions of your home feel much cooler and more comfortable. You can buy portable dehumidifiers in stores in a variety of sizes and at a relatively low cost.
Use Ceiling Fans: Ceiling fans are a great way to keep the rooms in your home cool without having to rely so much on your AC. While they don’t do anything to lower the actual temperature of the room, they can make the air feel cooler by moving it around. Ceiling fans use less electricity than AC units do and, when used together, can make any space feel much more comfortable without having to turn down the temperature on the thermostat.
It’s likely you already have a few installed in your home; however, if you don’t or if there are a few rooms that get especially hot and could really use them, consider purchasing ceiling fans for your home. If you have a patio or another outdoor space where you hope to spend some time during the summer, you may want to install outdoor ceiling fans in that area as well. Remember to set your ceiling fans to blow in a counterclockwise motion, which forces air down and makes you feel cooler in the summertime. In the winter, make sure to change the direction to clockwise.
Use Energy-Efficient Bulbs: A traditional 100-watt incandescent light bulb produces a lot of heat. In fact, just one of them can increase the temperature of a small room by up to 11 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re also extremely inefficient. It’s no wonder why manufacturers have stopped producing and started phasing out incandescent light bulbs completely!
If you want to lower the temperature in your home and reduce your energy usage, it’s time to finally say goodbye to your old bulbs and replace them with more energy-efficient alternatives, such as halogen bulbs, CFLs or LEDs. If you need more convincing, let us put it into perspective for you: LED bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs do and last 25 times longer. How’s that for energy savings?
Close Your Blinds:
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A simple solution for keeping your home cooler in the summertime is to make sure that your blinds or shades are closed during the day when the sun is at its hottest and brightest—usually between noon and 4 p.m. By simply keeping your window coverings closed, you’ll be able to reduce a room’s temperature by at least 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you really want to keep your home cool, consider purchasing blackout or room-darkening shades that are designed to reduce or completely block out the amount of sunlight that gets into a room. You can also try installing window tints, which are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and will keep rooms feeling comfortable.
Plant Natural Shade: One of the best ways to keep the sun off your home and windows during the summer is to plant shade trees. This will obviously take some time to establish, but with a little bit of planning and patience, you’ll be happy with the results. A tree that is in full bloom can block out more than 70 percent of the sun, preventing light from streaming into our windows and heating up our roofs throughout the day.
Shade trees come in many different shapes and sizes and for a variety of climates, so there are plenty of options for you to choose from. However, if you’re looking for something that is fast-growing, some of the most popular choices are: red oak, red maple and the American sycamore.
Cook Outdoors More: There’s nothing quite like the smell of dinner sizzling on the grill and the joy of cooking and dining outdoors with friends and family. It’s the picture of a perfect summer.
Besides bringing everyone together and making prep time and clean up easier to do, cooking outdoors can also keep the inside of your home cooler. You probably already know how uncomfortable it can feel inside when the oven’s on and it’s hot and muggy outside. Keep temperatures cool indoors by bringing the party outside instead.
Invest in New Doors, Windows and Insulation: If you have the budget for it, one of the best ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency and keep the temperature inside down is to replace your doors, windows and insulation. Better insulation and tighter seals around your doors and windows will keep the heat out and prevent the cool air inside your home from escaping.