5 Best Ways to Keep Your Home Cool & Wallet Happy
Upper Midwest: The Icy Hot of America. As our annual Ice Age ends, we are quickly met with sauna-inspired, summer days. Chickens are given their daily serving of ice to prevent the laying of hard-boiled eggs and trees find refreshment from area dogs. It’s during this season that we find any way we can to beat the heat and enjoy our fleeting days of warmth.
To curb your frustration, we have compiled the 5 best ways to keep your home cool in summer months, all while saving yourself money in the process.
“You Trying To Cool Down The Neighborhood?!”
Just as humans possess their own flaws, so do the airflow-controlling features in our homes. Windows, doors, and other sealing features can become leaky and dysfunctional. Walls and attics may lack proper insulation to keep wanted air in and unwanted air out. Lucky for you, these flaws can be easily fixed.
Some may disagree, but we highly recommend scheduling a home energy audit with your utility company. An audit is the best way to gauge where energy is being wasted. Whether you conduct an audit or not, it is important to check and seal any leaks, install new weather-stripping, and add insulation to needed areas. The upfront cost will lead to long-term savings and lasting comfort.
Use Your Ceiling Fan Wisely
Unlike an A/C unit, ceiling fans don’t actually change the temperature of the room they are operating in. They simply make you feel cooler through simple thermodynamics. The perk? A ceiling fan can cause your room(s) to feel up to 10 degree cooler, while using 10% less energy than your air conditioner.
In order to get the most out of your ceiling fan, set it in the forward, or counterclockwise, direction. This will pull cooler air from the ground and circulate it throughout the room.
Additionally, never leave a fan on in a vacant room. Because ceiling fans don’t actually cool down a room, there is no use for them unless someone is in the room to feel the breeze. Leaving them on is a complete waste of energy and money.
Programmable & Intuitive Thermostats
Unless you are concerned about the comfort and well-being of your home’s interior belongings, there is no reason to have your air conditioner working at all hours of the day. Programmable thermostats are specifically designed to avoid unnecessary energy usage.
Program your thermostat to hold a warmer temperature during hours of the day no one is home. Then have it kick on the air conditioner at a later time, so it’s cool when you arrive home.
Common myth: Having your A/C run all day keeps your home at constant temperature, therefore, uses less energy than keeping home warm during the day.
Truth: Due to simple physics, heat flows from hotter environment to a cooler environment until equilibrium is reached. Having your air conditioner run throughout the day will lead to a large temperature difference between the inside of your home and outside your home. Hot air will continually enter your home in an attempt to reach equilibrium, causing your A/C unit to turn on and off as temperature fluctuates.
Keeping your home’s internal temperature closer to that of the outside’s will lead to less air flow into your home. Yes, it will take some additional time for your home to cool down, but your air conditioner will work more efficiently and your energy costs will drop.
Self-programming thermostats, such as the Nest, are able to sense people and patterns. These thermostats will adjust temperature according to the patterns it notices. They are also controllable via your smartphone or tablet.
Bonus: Programmable thermostats are extremely beneficial for all seasons, and can save a homeowner up to $180/year in energy costs.
Let Energy Be The Star
ENERGY STAR certified air conditioners use up to 15% less energy than conventional models. These models greatly reduce energy usage, monthly costs, and harmful pollution. We aren’t saying you need to go out and buy a brand new air conditioner just to bulk up your wallet. However, if you are in the market for a new one, make sure it is ENERGY STAR certified.
Keeping It Simple
The simplest way to keep your home cool during the summer months is to keep as many blinds and curtains closed as possible. Obviously we don’t want you living in the dark, but south and west facing windows should be a focus when trying to cool your home. Heat gained through these windows can significantly increase your home’s internal temperature.