The summer season has finally arrived and while the summer is a time for fun outdoor activities, it is also a time for beating the heat within your home. Many areas of the U.S. are already experiencing hot weather and the temperature is going to continue to rise as we get deeper into the summer. This makes it important to find a way to efficiently cool your home. A lot of homeowners cool their homes with central air conditioning but the electric bills from running the air conditioner nonstop can get pretty high. If you are concerned with your energy bills from running your air conditioner too much or if you don’t have central air conditioning, these home cooling tips will help you keep your home at a comfortable temperature during the hottest months.
- Shut your Curtains and Blinds
Much of the heat in your home is caused by the sunlight that enters through the window. While it is nice to let natural light into your home, the heat of the sun’s rays is actually intensified as it passes through the glass window panes which can raise the temperature by as much as 20 degrees. Keeping your curtains and blinds shut will keep out extra heat from the sunlight and even lower your energy bills.
- Inspect your Doors and Windows
At this early stage of the summer, it is wise to inspect your windows and doors to make sure they shut, lock, and seal properly. Poor seals around your windows and doors not only let more heat into your home, but also let the cool air out. If you find any issues with the sealing or locks of your doors and windows, fix your locks and have the doors or windows resealed.
- Use Fans Wisely
Ceiling fans and other portable cooling fans are the most common alternatives to an air conditioner. However, you must know how to get the most cooling power out of your fans for the desired effect. Ceiling fans must be adjusted so that they run counter-clockwise in the summer because this rotation creates a downdraft that will make the room feel cooler. You can make the breeze from portable fans feel cooler by positioning a bowl with ice or an icepack in front of the fan so that it cools the air from the fan as it passes over.
- Use Bathroom Fans and Take Cooler Showers
There is a high level of moisture in your bathroom, especially after a hot shower. The steamy humidity that results from a hot shower can make a warm home even more uncomfortable and the condensation that forms on the walls and ceiling can lead to additional problems such as water damage and mold. Turning on the fan in your bathroom after a shower will remove some of the moisture in the air. You can also prevent this by taking cooler showers which actually feels good on a hot day.
- Use CFL Lights
Traditional incandescent light bulbs emit most of their energy as heat while compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are more energy efficient with lower heat. Replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFLs will slightly decrease the temperature in your home and help lower your energy bills.
- Save Household Chores for the Evening
Many household chores such as laundry or dishes require the use of large appliances that create heat as they run. Waiting until the evening when the temperature is cooler to run your dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer will help keep the temperature in your home lower during the hottest part of the day.
- Open your Windows at Night
Even on the hottest summer day, the temperature can be cool and refreshing at night. If the temperature cools to an acceptable level at night, open your windows to let in a fresh breeze. You can also strategically place your fans near the open windows to create a wind tunnel that will cool your home even more.
- Change your Cooking Habits
Cooking with your stove or oven can drastically increase the temperature in your home so try some alternatives such as grilling outside or using the microwave. You do not need a backyard barbecue or gathering as an excuse to use your grill and many people live in an area where they can only grill for half the year, so make sure you get some good use out of it before packing it in for the winter. If you must cook inside, these tips will help you minimize the heat:
- Keep pots covered
- Always use an exhaust fan to lower the heat
- Turn off the oven a couple minutes before your food is ready
- Avoid opening your oven during cooking, check on your food through the glass on the door
- Keep your Body Cool
While the above mentioned tips can help keep your home cool during a heat wave, it is also important to make sure you keep your body cool. There are so many ways to keep yourself cool such as wearing breathable clothing, changing your bedsheets from thick flannel sheets to cooler cotton sheets, taking cooler showers, and staying hydrated with cold drinks. If the heat in your home becomes too much, applying a washcloth wet with cold water to your neck or wrists can bring some relief
- Keep your Pets Cool
The summer heat doesn’t just make us uncomfortable, it has an effect on your pets too. Dogs and cats especially feel the effects of the heat and prolonged exposure can cause them to develop heatstroke. The symptoms of heatstroke include glazed eyes, heavy panting or difficulty breathing, salivation, excessive thirst, and lethargy and it can even lead to seizures or unconsciousness. You can help prevent heatstroke and keep your pets cool this summer with the following tips:
- Keep the humidity in your home low because too much moisture can prevent pets from cooling themselves effectively.
- Keep their exercise limited on hot days to prevent dehydration and breathing difficulties.
- A fan is not enough to cool down your pets, make sure you do more to cool your home.
- Your dog must have plenty of shaded areas and water when outside.
As the summer heats up, make sure your home doesn’t with these tips. These home cooling tips are effective for controlling the temperature in homes without central air conditioning and they can also help homes with central air by allowing the air conditioner to run less frequently. Beating the heat in your home creates a safer and more comfortable environment as extreme heat and humidity can lead to health problems, especially among children and the elderly. Do not let the heat take over your home this summer, follow these tips to keep it outside where it belongs.