Staying cool this summer is all about staying smart, resourceful and creative. There is no way around the extreme heat – the summers are naturally hot, so there is a good chance that your home will heat up too. Eventually the warmth will start to affect your quality of life, which is why many of us crank the AC. The only problem with this is that air conditioners are often expensive to run and they can significantly increase your carbon footprint. Luckily, though, there are a few tried and true methods to keep your costs way down, so that you don’t need to worry about spending a fortune or causing damage to the environment.
Here are five tips to help you take control of home cooling costs.
- Find alternative refuges from the heat. One of the best ways to take control of home cooling costs is to not run your air conditioner at all. You may be wondering how you will be able to live comfortably – this is a good question. The truth is that you don’t need to go far – a cool movie theater, a drive in an air-conditioned car, or even your own basement. If your basement isn’t a livable area, you may want to think about making it one – at least during the summer months.
- Utilize the power of table and overhead fans. Another great way to take control of cooling costs and to reduce your reliance on your air conditioner is to use fans. There are many different options for fans. You can get a ceiling fan for your living room and other rooms where you spend lots of time. For other spaces – like your bedroom – you can place a table fan on your nightstand to keep you cool at night.
- Make sure your windows are covered. It is also critical to keep your windows covered. If your blinds are up, the hot sun will pour through and warm up your home. If you do have your AC on, it can be quite counterintuitive and it may cause your cooling costs to rise significantly. Ideally, you want to install thick, UV reflecting blinds that send the warmth the other way and not directly into your home.
- Maintain your air conditioning unit. As a homeowner, it is your duty to properly maintain your air conditioning unit. This is why it is important to learn how to replace your HVAC filter and to perform basic visual checks. The moment you stop maintaining your air conditioning unit is the moment you will see your energy bills skyrocket. It is important to change the filter at least once a month – more if you use your air conditioning unit more frequently.
- Plant a large tree outside your home. Large trees and shrubbery have been known to serve and act like natural air conditioners. Not only do they provide shade, but they also cool down the warm air that travels and warms up your home. This is why you may want to think about planting large shade-providing trees and shrubs around your home – especially the sides that get the most sun.