During the summer, there’s always a tug-of-war between keeping your home refreshingly cool and keeping your utility bill in check. And with today’s rising energy costs, the struggle is even more real this year. But there are some ways you can help you beat the heat while putting energy efficiency to work in your favor! We’ve put together a list of the usual culprits that raise home temps and tips to help you bring the cool back into summer.
Keep Out the Sunlight
Sunlight is the antagonist of keeping cool — period. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to keep it from getting to you. Window coverings, especially for windows that face west or south, can help keep sunlight at bay, minimizing the warmth that accumulates within your home. Thermal curtains, thermal shades, blackout curtains, heat-reducing film, and interior shutters are all great, affordable options that can help to achieve this desired outcome. For the outside of your windows, planting shady trees or installing an awning on the west or south-facing sides of your property will take care of that searing sunlight as well.
Ask the Experts
A second opinion from experienced professionals could be just what you need to keep your home as cool as it can be for the lowest cost. Your local utility company will be happy to provide you with an energy audit. This process identifies cracks and crevices in your home — such as around windows, door frames, and crawl spaces — where the warm air is seeping in. In fact, energy efficiency experts from the Natural Resources Defense Council say that these small openings in the average home would add up to a hole the size of a basketball. Imagine all that heat! Some diagnostic testing can help you to identify the problem areas, not only arming you with the knowledge so you can take action, but also possibly rewarding you in rebates if you take the advice of your utility company afterward. When it comes to cooling, knowledge really is power!
Use Your Ceiling Fans at the Right Time
If you have ceiling fans, use them! When combined with your AC, the moving air can make a room feel much cooler. But that doesn’t mean use them all the time. Ceiling fans are very useful when you’re in the room, as the cooler air currents can make you feel 10 degrees cooler as it hit your skin. But when you’re not in the room or your AC isn’t on, don’t expect them to do much. In fact, they are just using additional unnecessary energy, which is what you’re trying to avoid. If you are in a bedroom or living space that has one, make sure it run them counterclockwise to draw the cool air downwards. And when you leave, you can leave them off.
Insulation is also key, especially for your ceilings and attic areas. Most of the heat is coming from above, cooking your home with the sunlight beating down on your roof — not to mention it also rises from below. While it’s often thought to retain heat in homes, adding some insulation to the upper parts of your property can actually fight off the strong summer rays and keep the heat out. If you can invest in some insulation, your AC will be much more effective, and its impact will last longer, allowing the cool air it produces to stay put and that pesky heat out so it can’t warm it back up again.
Use the Right Cooling System
Lastly, it all comes down to the AC and the thermostat. We’re proud to offer energy-efficient systems and programmable thermostats to help keep your energy costs low and your home feeling cool. With a programmable (or smart) thermostat, you can set your temperature to be slightly warmer when you’re not home and set it to your desired temperature before you arrive home, so that you’re greeted by a cool and refreshing feeling when you get there. And if you ever do forget to set it, you can adjust it from anywhere — the car, work, vacation — proving to be a life saver for those of us who tend to be more forgetful than most. If you’re considering installing a new thermostat or upgrading your HVAC equipment, contact us today to find out which products would be best for you!
Other helpful tips:
When it comes to cooling your home, the difference is in the details. By making a few subtle changes, your home is guaranteed to stay cooler and more comfortable all summer long. Don’t break the bank by blasting the thermostat all July and August — contact the pros at Madsen Inc. for more tips and information on ensuring your cooling system is working for you.