Keeping Cool on a Budget
Summer Heat and Home Comfort
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As your thermometer
inches into the red, you want to be sure your energy budget stays in the
black. These tips will help you keep your home comfortable all summer without
breaking the bank.
- Cold air from your air conditioner leaking out of
your home is a huge energy waste. Check seals around doors and windows
that may have incurred some damage during winter and could leak cold air
out and let hot air in. Consider taking a look at the state of your
insulation. Change the air conditioning unit’s filter as well — and
change it monthly throughout the warm months.
- Don’t cool unused rooms! If you’re not using the
guest bedroom, close the vents and keep the door shut. The flow of cool
air will be stronger to the rooms you actually do use, as well.
- Ceiling fans are a wonderful low-energy way to cool
off. Many models have seasonal settings that allow you to change the
blades’ spinning direction to maximize their effectiveness. In summer,
the blades should rotate counterclockwise.
- If you removed any shutters or screens for the
winter, it’s time to get those out and put them back up. Check the state
of your blinds as well. They should close tightly so you can block the
windows, minimizing the heat that enters your home. White shades and
blinds are the best choice for blocking the heat. If you’re lucky to
live in an area where the temperature drops significantly at night, be
sure you open the blinds and windows before heading to bed.
- Window awnings are a great choice for beating the
heat before it can start turning up the temperature on your windows. Or
you could opt for hanging decorative screens or shades over them.
- Save jobs that generate heat for the cooler evening
hours: Run the dishwasher and clothes dryer overnight. Better yet,
install a drying rack or clothes line in your backyard.
- Lovely landscaping enhances any home, and adding a
few shade trees is a great idea if you’re already making some updates to
your yard. Your outdoor air conditioning unit should always be shaded to
help you save energy and improve the unit’s efficiency as well. One
caveat though: don’t shade the southern side of the home so that the
winter sun can provide free heat!
As the summer heat
cranks up, we’re all thinking of ways to keep cool that won’t force us to dip
into the vacation budget to pay for. I hope these tips are helpful to you and
your family as you prepare to enjoy the summer season!
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