During a long and cold winter, summer seems like a dream. But the heat and humidity of the summer months can be just as unbearable without the right measures in place. As temperatures start to climb, knowing how to keep your home cool during the summer makes life more comfortable.
Rather than sitting in front of your open refrigerator, take a look at our tips on how to keep your home cool during the summer.
Work Your Windows
The way you use your windows can affect the temperature in your home. During the day, keep your blinds closed to keep the sun from heating your home.
Conversely, open your windows at night to let cool air in. Heat enters your home through your windows via the greenhouse effect. To block the heat, use light-colored blinds or shades and close them during the sunniest time of the day.
If you prefer to have some natural light in your home, close the blinds that face south and west. Another useful way to prevent heat from entering your home is to install window tinting that will still allow light to come inside.
If you live in an area where temperatures drop below 70° F at night, open your windows and use your fans. Once the sun goes down, the greenhouse effect stops and you can let the fresh air into your home. Strategically place fans in your windows to move air and cool down your home.
Install a Wall Air Conditioner
Whole-house air conditioning units will cool your home, but they also increase your energy bills. To save money and cool the areas of your home that you use, consider installing a PTAC air conditioner. These are commercial-grade units that fit into the wall, like the units you see in a hotel room.
To keep your energy bills affordable, set your PTAC unit a degree higher than you think you need. So, if you feel like you should set it at 68° F, up it to 69° F or 70° F. The temperature will still be cooler than outside, and you can always turn it off at night when the outside temperature drops. Turn your thermostat up or off when you are at work.
Along with using your blinds to block the heat, consider putting plants around your windows. Planting trees outside of your windows can help cool your home by taking the direct light and softening what hits the house directly. You can also place large potted plants on the sunny side of your home next to the windows. They will cool your home and provide shade on the inside.
Use Your Lightbulbs Effectively
If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, you are wasting energy and unnecessarily heating your home. The bulbs add a gentle yellow glow to a room, but they also give off more heat than most people realize. To cool your home, turn off the lights when you’re not in the room or replace your incandescents with LED bulbs (which emit very little heat).
Open and Close Your Doors
Another way to keep your home cool during the summer is to open the doors and let the airflow. However, if you have a room that gets extremely warm on sunny days, consider closing the door to it to keep the heat contained. Experiment with opening some doors and closing others to see how to best seal off the heat and move the comfortable air around your home.
While playing around with the doors, investigate your windows to see if they have any gaps. Your windows might let hot air into your home without you knowing. Look around the frame and sash to see if the wood is dry or rotting. If you find any leaks, seal them up to keep the hot air out and the cool air in.
You can keep yourself cool by drinking cold beverages, eating hydrating foods like watermelon, and using cooling towels and cold showers. When your body is cool and comfortable, the heat and humidity of the summer won’t seem so stifling.
Along with cooling yourself down with food and beverages, consider the clothes you wear in the summer. Breathable fabrics like cotton will help keep you cool, too. Consider putting cotton slipcovers over the furniture with textiles that don’t keep you cool, and put cotton sheets on your bed.
Make Your Own AC
A DIY air-conditioning unit can keep you cool without raising your energy bills. All you need is a fan and a bowl of ice. Put the ice in a shallow bowl and place the bowl in front of your fan. This simple solution gives you a personal air conditioning unit while keeping your energy bills low.
Turn on Your House Fans
Another helpful way to cool your home is to turn on ceiling fans and exhaust fans. Your ceiling fans will move warm air out of your rooms, and exhaust fans move the air out of your home. On hot days, turning on your house fans can drop your interior temperatures a few degrees without having to turn on your air conditioning unit.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, turn on your furnace fan on hot days. But run the fan without the heat—the fan will circulate the cool air in your basement through your home, acting almost like an air conditioning unit without the added energy use.
Work at Night
Any time you turn on appliances, you add some heat to the room. Cook, do laundry and run the dishwasher when the sun goes down to minimize adding heat. If you don’t want to turn on your microwave or your stove, consider grilling your food outside to keep your home cool. You could also wash your clothes and hang them out to dry if temperatures stay above 70° F at night.
Update Your Exterior
With a few simple exterior updates, you can easily cool the interior of your home. Awnings will shade your windows, dropping the interior temperatures. If your roof is old, consider updating your roof to keep cool air in and hot air out. You can also cool your home by painting the exterior a light color that reflects sunlight.
There are a variety of techniques you can employ to keep your home cool throughout the summer, from minor changes like updating window coverings and adding plants near windows, to more major, long-term solutions such as adding awnings or upgrading your roof. No matter which you choose, be sure to keep cool during these sweltering summers!