How to Keep Your House Cool in the Summer

As summer kicks into gear many of us will try to “beat the heat” at home.  Fortunately for you, there are plenty of ways to keep out heat in the summer months with minimal investment.  Check out these cooling tips you can put into practice:

Window Treatments that Make a Difference

Shades, curtains, blinds… whatever style of window treatment you have in your home, during peak sunlight hours you definitely want to keep them closed.  In situations with extreme amounts of sunlight hitting your home, you may want to look into purchasing blackout curtains or shades.  These shades can block up to almost 100% of external light, come in a variety of materials, both synthetic and natural.  Just note, that blackout shades tend to be a pricier option, but if absolute darkness is your goal, this is a tried and true method.

Add Some Air Flow

Use a portable fan at one end of your home blowing fresh air in, and another at the other end of your home pulling the hot air out.  Similar to how an exhaust fan works, this will create a draft in your home that will lower the temperature and help move some of the humidity outdoors as a result of the air flowing through your house.  To demonstrate how air flow can make a huge difference in your home, check out this cool diagram that delves into the larger topic of how to design living spaces to maximize natural air circulation.

Keep your AC Clean

For those with central air conditioning in their homes, it will be working overtime when trying to fend off the soaring temps!  When the forecast is calling for a heat wave, be sure to clean the condensing unit that sits outside your home.  Carefully sweep away any leaves and debris, then hose it down thoroughly.  This will clean it, allow it to breath easier, and cool more efficiently.  It stands to reason that a clean condensing unit will help maximize the performance of your system.  Essentially, it draws in fresh air from the outside, sending through ductwork to the actual cooling unit and air handler for distribution to the various rooms in your home.  For more information on how air conditioners actually work click here.

Moderate and Automate Your Thermostat

Auto or Fan On?  This is a big question many people ask.  On your thermostat, flip that switch to “Fan On” when the temps are over 80 degrees, and let the fan run 24/7 until the heat wave has passed.  The constant circulation will take the cold air that it’s providing and circulate it throughout the home, which will allow your condensing unit on the outside to work less.  Plus, you’ll ultimately use less energy which is great for keeping those utility bills lower.  Speaking of, here’s another tips to better manage your thermostat – if you’re typically setting the temperature to 70 or 72 degrees, try boosting it up to 74 or 76 during the bulk of the daylight hours – you’ll find it’s still nice and chilly inside and you’re actually helping the AC not work as hard.

How About those Filters?

While it’s not ideal to use a cheap .99 filter over a pleated filter (the pleated ones have 10x more filtering capabilities after all), in severe heat it’s OK.  The less expensive filters have better breathing capabilities and will allow that air from the blower to flow easier, which again, will be more energy efficient.  For more info on the difference between pleated and non-pleated filters, click here.

Thermostat Revisited

Where you set your temperature is important, as well.  Remember you’re trying to control the humidity level.  Setting it to 64 will not make it colder!  Set it to 72 or 74 and allow the system to run with humidity control in mind… that’s the secret behind air conditioning.  And most modern thermostats have the built in ability to schedule the temperature setting to kick in on certain days and times, so definitely make sure to take advantage of those feature.

Bonus Tip – Fans Redux

Ceiling fans are not only a great way to circulate air in your home, but they also help your air conditioner run efficiently.  Keep them on a low setting during the daytime hours and even if you raise the thermostat a bit, your A/C will be able to run at a stable temperature with less work needed to keep it comfortable.  If you’re in the market for a ceiling fan, check out this great list of styles to choose from.

There you have it.  We hope you find these ideas helpful in your quest to conquer the heat this season.