When it comes to cooling our homes, air conditioning is the most convenient solution. However, it’s also the most expensive way to keep your home cool. Many of us rack up high energy bills over the summer from constantly having the air con on. Often, the amount of air conditioning we use is unnecessary – especially when there are cheaper and equally effective ways to keep our homes cool. Below are just some of the best ways in which you can keep your home cool and use less air conditioning.
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Turn on your air conditioning during only the hottest hours
It is important to see if your air conditioning unit is running at full capacity. You can get an AC check up from https://tsshomecomfort.com/cooling-services/ac-tune-up/ to manage this. Once that is in order, then you can put your air conditioning on only during the hottest hours and gain the greatest benefit.
Many of us keep our air conditioning roaring practically 24/7 over the summer. Much of the time this is unnecessary – there’s often no need to have the air con on all night.
In fact, there are many reasons as to why you shouldn’t put your air conditioning on at night. Not only is the air temperature cooler, but our bodies naturally cool down as we sleep. Many of us end up waking up for this reason and having to turn down/turn off the air con because it’s too cold. This can even mess with our health by causing our body temperature to become too low too quickly (on top of this, constant air conditioning can cause people to develop a dry mouth, dry eyes and respiratory problems).
Get into a habit off only turning on the air conditioning during the hottest hours of the day when you actually need it. You may be able to set a timer that schedules the cooling to come on at 10am and turn off at 3pm. Before and after these hours, you can rely on other ways of cooling your home.
On top of using your air con less often, avoid setting the temperature too cold. The cooler you go, the more energy you’ll consume. There’s often no need to go any lower than 8 degrees below the outside temperature. For every degree hotter that you select, you could reduce your energy consumption by 10%.
Consider home upgrades to repel heat from the sun
Certain home upgrades may be able to repel heat from the sun in order to keep your home cool. This could reduce the need to use air conditioning.
For instance, replacing your windows could be one way of keeping your home cool. If your home has old windows, they may not have a low-E coating to reduce heat from passing through. You can use sites like windowwire.com to find windows that will help reduce heat from getting in. Such sites also offer information on the difference between U-factor and SHGC to help you find the right level of insulation.
Replacing your roof could also make an impact. Cool roofs are typically flat roofs designed to repel sunlight. This could prevent the heat from entering your home helping to further keep your home cool. Cool roofs are ideal in places that regularly receive heatwaves.
Such home improvements aren’t likely to be cheap. However, you’re likely to make up costs in the long run by not having to turn on the air con as often.
Provide natural sources of shade
You can also reduce the amount of heat entering your home by providing natural sources of shade.
Planting a tree outside your home for instance could help to shelter your home from the sun during certain periods of the day. This could be a small tree outside a downstairs window or even a large tree that offers shade for the whole house.
Shrubs such as vines and bushes can also be used to limit sunlight from entering your home. These could be a cheaper and easier option than trees.
Should I draw the curtains?
Does shutting curtains help to keep your home cool? It can do, depending on when you shut them.
The best strategy is to draw your curtains in the morning when it’s still cool. This can stop hot air from entering your home during the hottest hours of the day.
Don’t draw the curtains in the afternoon if they’ve been open all day, as you’ll likely be trapping hot air in your home. This could be particularly the case if your have thick curtains hung up.
Blackout curtains are some of the best options for blocking out heat during the day. There are many different types of blackout curtains – some of which are more ideal for winter as they may offer insulation. Blackout blinds are another option.
Should I open a window?
A similar debate can often be whether to open a window. Can it help to let in a cool breeze? Or does it just let in hot air?
In most cases, it’s actually better to leave your windows shut during the hottest hours of the day. While an open window may feel as if it is helping to let in cool air, it’s often just a way of letting in hot air. If you’ve got the air conditioning on, opening a window could also cause cool air to escape so that you’re not feeling the benefit of it.
It’s better to open windows in the evening when the outside air is cooler and when the air conditioning is off.
Use fans strategically to cool your home
An alternative electric cooling option to air conditioning is to use fans. Fans tend to consume a lot less power and can help to cool your home down equally fast.
Ceiling fans are one of the best options. When set counter-clockwise, they can help to push cool air down (setting ceiling fans to clockwise will alternatively draw heat up and could make the room hotter). Selecting faster speeds will help to cool the room down faster but will consume more energy (although still not as much as air con).
You can also use tower fans and desk fans to provide cooling. The benefit of these fans is that they are portable, so you can move them from one room to the next, only cooling the room that you are using. It’s worth owning two of these fans and using them to create a crosswind during the evenings – you can place one fan towards an open window in order to blow out hot air and another fan facing the room helping to blow in cool air.
Switch to cool bedding
If you get hot and sweaty at night, you may want to consider switching out your everyday bedding for a cooler option. This could help you resist the urge to turn on the air con at night.
Certain sheet materials may help to keep you cooler. These include cotton, bamboo, linen and silk sheets. Silk in particular is known for staying cool longer. Cotton and bamboo meanwhile offer a lot of breathability, helping to reduce sweating.
As for duvets, you may want to avoid thicker duvets. Summer duvets tend to be lightweight with breathable fillings. The tog rating is something to look into – a low tog rating often suggests that a duvet has a low insulation level, making it more suited to the heat.
There are also pillows that you can buy that stay cooler longer. These pillows contain fillings such as gel and bamboo that allows for breathabilty. This guide at thesleepjudge.com details a few pillow options that are designed to stay cool.
Reduce heat from cooking/drying/showering
You can also reduce the need to use air conditioning by limiting use of appliances that create lots of heat. Such appliances are likely to make your home hotter and may increase the need for cooling.
Cooking is a process that can often produce a lot of heat. Baking food in the oven can often produce a lot of dry heat, while boiling pans of water can produce a lot of steam. Using an extractor fan while cooking can help to pump out hot air. However, the most effective way to keep your home cool is to cook outdoors more often. Cold meals like salads and microwaved meals could also reduce the need for oven use.
Tumble dryers can also produce a lot of heat. If it’s a hot day, take advantage of the weather by hanging your clothes to dry outdoors or simply hang them on a clothes horse.
When it comes to showering, consider taking cooler showers in the summer to reduce hot steam. Using an extractor fan can also help to pump out steam and keep your home cool.
This is a contributed post.
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Thanks for sharing these tips- our energy bills can sometimes get out of hand. I try to keep the house cool early on in the day so that we don’t need to turn on the air conditioner until much later on. Definitely agree with you about not cooking in the hottest part of the day if you can help it!