7 Ways To Keep Your Home As Cool As Possible

As we enter the hot and humid summer months, keeping your home comfortable and cool becomes a priority. However doing so with air conditioning alone can cause those energy bills to soar if you’re not careful. When you find effective ways to cool your home, the energy savings can result in reduced utility costs. Here are a few proven ways to keep your home cool.

Use Fans

By circulating air, ceiling fans or standalone fans can make a room feel cooler by several degrees. Note: Fans aren’t lowering a room’s actual temperature. They create a “wind-chill” effect when the air created by the rotation of the blades combines with your skin’s natural moisture, making it feel up to four degrees cooler.

You don’t want to leave fans turned on when you are not at home or in vacant rooms. Improperly using fans can create the undesired result of a higher monthly payment with a home that is constantly sweltering.

In the summer, ensure the ceiling fan rotates counterclockwise. This ensures cool air is pushed down toward you and your guests. In the winter months, you can reverse ceiling fans to run clockwise, which helps pull warmer air up into the room.

Updating ceiling fans to newer models can also help save you money with increased efficiency and better air flow not to mention the more modern and quiet designs.

Adjust the Thermostat

Set it and forget it. You’ll remember that when you receive your electricity bill in the summer months. Another common misconception about energy efficiency is that raising the thermostat when you’re not home means the system will expend more energy and run longer to “catch up” when you lower it again. The fact remains, when the system isn’t running, you are conserving energy and saving money. Set the thermostat a few degrees warmer when you leave and even higher if you’ll be gone for days on a business trip or family vacation. What’s the “sweet spot” for the thermostat? The U.S. Department of Energy suggests 78 degrees as the ideal indoor temperature for staying cool and conserving energy during the summer months. However let’s face it, that’s simply not cool enough for many people. Whatever you decide is the ideal setting for your family, keep in mind that every degree set above 72 degrees can save you up to 3% on cooling costs during the hotter months.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats may be newer technology and seem costly, even so they can be quite affordable. If you use them properly, you can recoup the savings over time. You’ll find no shortage of options or features when it comes to smart or programmable thermostats, but the main thing to remember is that you find savings by setting them for different temperatures when you’re away versus at home.

Set the thermostat to automatically adjust at certain time of the day or, when you’re away for vacation and want to adjust the temperature while the house is empty, you can log in with a smart phone to begin the cooling process before you head home. After all, no one likes unpacking the car in August in the south only to be welcomed into an unbearably hot and humid home.

Some smart thermostats will even learn your schedule and adjust temperatures automatically. Pretty cool!

Maintain Your HVAC

We all need to find creative ways to save on our living expenses, but one area you shouldn’t skimp on is regular maintenance of your HVAC system. First off, be sure to change your HVAC filters regularly. How often depends on many factors, including the quality of the filters you use, where you live and how much use the system gets. Not only will fresh filters help you breathe easier, they prevent dust and other particles from accumulating in the ducts leading to damage over time and shortening the life of the system.

Additionally, it’s wise to have the HVAC unit checked at least once a year, ideally before the start of the cooling or heating season. Routine maintenance ensures the HVAC system is running efficiently and can help prevent potential breakdowns that lead to costly repairs. Regular maintenance can improve indoor air quality, cooling and extend the lifespan of your HVAC unit. Depending on where you live or the age of your system, you might want to consider checks every six months.

If your HVAC is older and needing regular repairs, it might be time to budget for a new unit. Newer models are built to be more efficient and can help you save on costs. If you are purchasing or remodeling a new home, it’s wise to have a professional inspect the unit to ensure it functions properly.

Consider a Mini-Split

The ability to control the temperature of individual rooms and spaces in your home or can lead to enhanced comfort of more people at any given time. It also means increased energy savings. If your family spends a lot of time in a certain room, concentrating energy to that room can make a world of difference.

We wrote a previous blog on ductless mini-splits you can read for the complete rundown on advantages and disadvantages of installing mini-splits in your home. Check it out here.

Prevent Air Leaks

Ensuring proper sealing and insulation will be beneficial toward efficiency and keeping your home cooler. If you implement tips like fan usage, HVAC maintenance and proper thermostat settings in your home, you don’t want those savings to escape through cracks and gaps around doors and windows. Weatherstripping and caulking are two ways to solve visible gaps that allow cold air to leak out and hot air to creep in (or the reverse in winter).

If that’s not effective enough, energy assessors can help identify hidden problem areas and recommend solutions. Energy.gov is a helpful resource for ideas around reducing energy loss in your home.

If you’re considering a remodeling project, it’s also a good time to ensure your home’s insulation is up to the job. Proper insulation in your attic, walls and floors prevents heat from entering your home.

Replace Old Windows

Replacing old windows can significantly contribute to keeping your home cooler through reduced heat transfer and improved insulation. Old windows may have worn seals, gaps, or single-pane glass that allows heat to enter during hot weather and escape during colder times of the year. Newer windows have energy-efficient features like double or triple glazing, low-emissivity coatings, and insulated frames that can aid in blocking heat from entering your home. A more stable indoor temperature throughout peak sunlight hours reduces the need for your HVAC system to work harder. Additionally, window choices available today often have better seals which, as discussed above, keep warm air from seeping inside and cool air from escaping.

Other Cool Ideas

Use Dehumidifiers – Humidity is a fact of life in the south, especially during spring and summer. Dehumidifiers help your home feel cooler by removing excess moisture from the air, which can make things feel sticky and uncomfortable. By reducing humidity, dehumidifiers create a more comfortable indoor environment, which means it’s easier for your body to cool itself naturally. So even if the indoor temperature remains the same, lower humidity levels can make your home feel more pleasant without the need to lower the thermostat further.

Close Blinds and Curtains – Sunlight passing through windows can heat up a room more than you might think, especially if your windows are older (see above). Light-colored, reflective blinds and curtains keep sunlight out and reflect heat away from the house during the hottest parts of the day.Plant Trees and Shrubs – Trees and shrubs around your home provide shade and reduce the amount of sunlight that enters your home. Deciduous trees are ideal because they provide shade in the summer and allow sunlight in the winter.

By considering and implementing some (or all!) of these energy-efficient cooling strategies, you can keep your home cool and comfortable during the hot summer months while discovering utility savings guaranteed to make you smile.

If you have questions about any of these solutions or are looking for help installing new fans or windows, give the specialists at Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling a call today. While we’re experts in remodeling, we also offer handyman services for those who don’t have the time or expertise to tackle smaller household projects themselves. Contact us today!