Whenever the weather starts to scorch, most people’s first reaction is to flick on the air conditioning—if they’re lucky enough to have it. But even if you have AC, you shouldn’t rely on it all the time to keep your home feeling pleasant. In fact, you can do several other things to drop the temperature without raising your electricity bill. To help you get started, here are a few tips and tricks on how to keep your home cool in hot weather.
Close the Windows
Yes, it’s true. Unless there’s a cool breeze blowing around outside, throwing open the windows only invites more heat into your home. If the sun is hitting one side of your home particularly hard, shut the windows on that side and close the drapes to repel sunlight and keep hot and humid air out. If your curtains are gauzy and light, consider switching to darker blackout curtains, or drape a thick blanket over the curtain rod as a temporary fix. When night falls and if the temperature follows, throw open the curtains and let in that sweet, cool night air.
Don’t Create More Heat
When the temperature soars, make that the night to barbecue, order in, or eat a cold meal of chicken salad and cucumber soup. When you cook on the stove, you’re adding more heat to the house, which means the HVAC or window unit must work even harder to generate cold air while pushing out the extra hot air. Likewise, dishwashers and clothes dryers add to the overall inferno whenever you run and open them. Save the big heat-generating appliances for later when the warm front passes through.
Service Your HVAC and Check Your Insulation
If you’re fortunate enough to have air conditioning, make sure you look after your system. Have it serviced and cleaned once a year, and arrange for an inspection of your air ducts as well. Make sure you’re replacing or cleaning the filters once a month, too. If your unit is forced to work harder, you won’t get enough cool air when you need it most, and you’ll pay dearly for it when the electric bill arrives. Take the time to have your attic and other insulation inspected as well. More heat could be getting in and cool air getting out than you realize.
Your Biggest Fans
Fans are great, but are you using them correctly? When you’re considering how to keep your home cool in hot weather, employ fans, but use them well. One trick is to place a large bowl of ice in front of a fan. It will blow cool air across the room, and as the ice melts, it will add a bit of cooling moisture to the breeze. When evening falls, set up a fan in the window that blows cool air into your home and a second fan that blows the hot air out another window. Circulated air is cooler air!