Any tips on how to cool my home?
-Duane J., VA
If you run hot like I do, summer can be the worst for keeping cool while saving money and being at least somewhat environmentally savvy — the U.S. Department of Energy says that for every degree you work to keep your house cooler than 78 degrees, you increase your AC bill by about 8%. It’s not impossible to cool down and save money and energy, though! Try out these easy, no-remodeling-necessary tips, so you can reduce the amount of time you keep the AC on:
- Turn on the fan. Fans require less energy than an AC to use, and still do the job right. Fans move air, and the sweeping of air over the body is what cools you down. Just be sure to unplug the fan when it’s not in use, so you can avoid the energy vampires!
- Cross-ventilate. Open windows on both sides of your room or house, so that air can flow from one side of the house to another — it’s like helping to encourage a natural breeze.
- Cross-ventilate the other way, too. If you have windows that open from the top and bottom, open both sides a little bit. Similarly, if you have transom windows above windows or doors, keep those open along with your standard-height windows. Heat rises, so it can escape out the top opening while cool air ventilates through the bottom.
- Enjoy the shade. By blocking out the harshest rays and brightest lights, you prevent heat from coming in, and therefore require less energy to cool yourself, so turn off the lights and make use of your blinds and shutters!
- Don’t cook or clean. Heat from the oven and dishwasher warms permeates the kitchen, and sometimes even the surrounding rooms. Use this time as an excuse to sit back and relax!
- Play a trick on yourself. This might only work for the strongest-willed, but it’s worth a shot. If you think cool, you’re more likely to feel cool. Surround yourself with things that will make you aware of a chill —drink more cold water, and tune into that wind chime (it’s only making noise because of that pleasant breeze!).