During summer heat waves, staying as cool as possible is important. But how can you remain comfortable while keeping your energy costs low and the demand on the power grid down? There’s good news. You can take simple steps to make your air conditioning more efficient without breaking the bank and help keep your house cool during extreme heat.
Ways to keep your house cool in summer and during extreme heat
Check your weather stripping
One of the easiest ways to keep your house cool in summer is to insulate it. Check the weather stripping around your doors and windows for leaks during your seasonal home maintenance. A sure-fire way to tell is if you feel abnormal amounts of heat when you stand near a door or window. The warm air points to a break in the weather stripping, which you can easily fix with a quick trip to the hardware store.
Close your blinds and shades
Blinds and window shades do more than offer privacy. They can prevent sunlight from entering your home when closed, especially on windows that directly face the sun. UV and heat-blocking solar shades can help keep your house cool in summer and reduce the greenhouse effect.
Learn more about how to protect your home from UV rays.
Adjust your ceiling fans
It’s easy to forget to switch the direction on your ceiling fans. To keep your house cool in the summer, set your fan to turn in a counterclockwise direction. A simple switch will push cool air towards you versus pulling cool air up and away from you during winter. If you’re unsure how to do this, look for a small switch on the fan’s body. It should reverse the spin direction.
Set your thermostat higher
Setting the thermostat higher? Isn’t that the opposite of keeping the house cool? It’s not. If an air conditioner works too hard, it can result in a buildup that will freeze the system. Setting your thermostat higher will keep the home comfortable without over-taxing the HVAC unit. If your HVAC breaks during a heat wave, you’ll be in trouble and could face costly repairs that your homeowners insurance won’t cover.
Consider grilling outdoors
Things can heat up in the kitchen in more ways than one. Cooking or baking in summer (at least in the middle of the day) can significantly raise your home’s temperature. Consider firing up the grill outside as a way to keep your home cool in the summer. If you need to use the oven, do so late at night when the temperatures are cooler.
Moving air is cooler air
Sit in a 75-degree room with a fan and in another room without a fan. The room without a fan will feel warmer simply because the air isn’t moving. Invest in a few oscillating fans to keep air moving around a room, and your home will be much more comfortable.
Look at your light bulbs
If you’re using incandescent bulbs in your home, they may generate more heat than you think. Swapping these bulbs out for energy-efficient LEDs will not only bring down your utility bill but may also lower the temperature. Using energy-efficient bulbs is especially useful if using an incandescent bulb as a desk lamp.
Keep showers short and cool
Showers raise the moisture level in the home and make it feel much more humid. If you live somewhere that’s already humid, it can make the home’s interior feel almost unbearable. Keep your showers as short as possible, and use cooler water to avoid a lot of steam buildup. A dehumidifier can also help reduce humidity in your home and keep it cooler.
Change your AC filters
HVAC filters affect more than air quality. A clogged filter can impede airflow, so your home won’t get as cool as it should. Swapping out air filters every four months is recommended, but more frequent cleaning means efficient operation. Learn more about how to take care of your A/C unit in the summer.
Keep yourself cool
One of the easiest ways to keep yourself comfortable during summer, even in a warmer home, is to wear comfortable clothing. Look for loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Cotton is a better choice than synthetic fibers for airflow, but moisture-wicking athletic wear can also be a good pick for hot summer days in the house.