Now that Memorial Day is firmly in the rearview mirror, fans of hot summer months around the country are getting exactly what they hoped for. Temperatures are rising, the clothes are coming off, and beaches and pools everywhere are seeing their first big weekends of the year. It’s a fantastic time to be outside, but that isn’t always the case. As the summer progresses into the dog days, that constant heat and humidity can be seriously draining. And in some parts of the country it’s already at that point now, and will stay that way for months to come. That causes many folks to rush inside and kick up the air conditioning. But this approach can be seriously expensive. So here are five tips for keeping your home cool as the summer heats up.
First of all, consider your landscaping. You can’t do anything about the direction your house faces, but are you taking full advantage of any breeze you can muster up? Make sure you haven’t planted large trees or bushes right in the pathway of your best windy direction, cutting off the natural cooling that Mother Nature provides. You’ll want to leave that perfect avenue for cross breeze, so you can leave the windows open as much as possible. You might also want to plant shade trees above the windows, helping to keep a bit of that sun from hitting your home directly.
If that’s not possible, consider your window treatments. You can buy thicker shades that actually block much of the sun from creeping through the windows. And that will make a huge difference in the temperature of a room. You can leave them open in the morning, and then draw them down when the major heat of the day hits. The breeze will still basically get through, but the balance in shade will be worth the compromise.
Another great option is a ceiling fan. Again, air conditioning will make the largest difference, but it will also hurt your wallet in a major way. Ceiling fans are far more economical and green, allowing you to create breeze with the natural air instead of forcing canned air through the house. Place one in each room where you spend a large amount of time, and you’ll be shocked at the difference it makes. It’ll also help keep you cool through the night, without burning so much gas or electricity.
The fact remains, there will be days that the air conditioning is an absolute necessity. So make sure you are getting the most out of your investment. Have your HVAC system thoroughly cleaned and serviced at the beginning of each season, so the air flow is maximized. That will improve the quality of the blowing air as well, while insuring that you’ve got full cooling potential when you do use the unit. It’s also a good idea to walk through your house and seal up any cracks or leaks around the windows and the door frames.
Finally, think about improving your insulation, especially in the attic. Unless you’ve put up roof tiles that absorb sunlight, much of the heat of the sun transfers right through your roof and into the attic. That hot air will cook the upper floors and make things uncomfortable. You’ve probably never considered how attic insulation saves you money, but installing the proper material will help you get the most out of your cooling system, while preventing much of the day’s heat from entering your home.