In early July 2023, our planet reached the hottest day ever recorded for 3 days in a row, and there are no signs of the scorching heat letting up anytime soon. Experts predict the new record will most likely be shattered again multiple times throughout the year. So as the weather continues to heat up, how can we stay cool in our homes and save on energy costs at the same time?
1. Beat the Heat and Save Energy with Window Shades!
Is your home feeling the heat from the sun blaring through your windows on hot summer days? If you don’t already have them, install window shades. By installing blinds or shutters, you can effectively shield your living space from the scorching sun and make your home feel cooler. Not only will this help you stay comfortable, but it will also save you money on your cooling bills. So, say goodbye to the heat and hello to energy savings by adding some shading to your windows!
Energy Saving Tips to Consider
- Pick shades that provide good coverage: When choosing shades for your windows, make sure they can block out the sunlight effectively, especially if your windows face south or west. These directions get a lot of heat during the summer, so having proper shade is crucial.
- Outside shading is best: Instead of using shades or curtains indoors, it’s more effective to block the heat by shading the outside of your windows. You can try installing shutters, awnings, or exterior blinds to keep your home cool and comfortable.
- Light colors for cooler homes: Did you know that the color of your shades and curtains can affect the temperature in your home? Light-colored options reflect the sun’s energy, which helps to keep your home cooler. So, consider choosing shades in lighter hues to beat the heat.
- Easy control with remote blinds: If you have windows that are difficult to reach, don’t worry! There are remote control blinds available that allow you to adjust the shades without any hassle. With just a push of a button, you can keep your home cool and save energy.
(Remember to remove exterior shading during winter: While shading is great for summer, it’s important to remove it during the winter months. Sunlight can help warm up your home naturally, so it’s best to let it in during colder times.)
2. Stay Cool and Save Energy with Fans Instead of AC!
When the temperature rises during the summer, it’s natural to want to crank up the air conditioning to stay cool. However, using fans strategically can be a more energy-efficient and budget-friendly way to beat the heat. Let’s explore how you can harness the power of fans for a refreshing and comfortable home.
- Ceiling fans: If you have ceiling fans installed in your home, make sure you are using them. Ceiling fans create a gentle breeze that can make you feel cooler by enhancing the evaporation of perspiration from your skin, so you can raise the thermostat setting 4°F and you’ll still feel just as comfortable.
- Portable fans: Portable fans are versatile and can be placed anywhere in your home to provide targeted cooling. Consider placing them near windows to draw in fresh air or in rooms where you spend the most time. Experiment with different fan speeds and positions to find the most comfortable airflow.
- Window fans: Window fans are a fantastic option for bringing in fresh outdoor air during cooler times of the day or overnight. Place the fan in a window facing away from your home to create a cross-breeze and promote air circulation.
- Personal fans: Don’t forget about personal fans! These handheld or desktop-sized fans can provide instant relief when you’re feeling hot. Carry a portable fan with you or place a desktop fan on your work or study area to stay cool and focused.
Energy Saving Tips to Consider
- Adjust your thermostat: Did you know that running a fan allows you to increase the temperature on your thermostat? It’s true! The gentle breeze from the fan creates a refreshing sensation, making you feel cooler without relying heavily on your air conditioner. Talk about a win-win situation!
- Combine with other cooling strategies: To boost the effectiveness of your fan, try pairing it with other cooling techniques. For instance, close your curtains or blinds during the hottest parts of the day to block out the sun’s heat. Additionally, opening windows strategically to let in a natural cross-breeze can enhance the cooling effect. These simple actions can make a noticeable difference in maintaining a comfortable environment.
- Fans cool people, not rooms: Remember, the purpose of a fan is to cool people, not entire rooms. If a room is unoccupied, there’s no need to keep the fan running. Be mindful of turning it off to conserve energy. By directing the airflow where you need it most, you’ll maximize the cooling effect.
- Window fans for overnight cooling: Here’s a clever trick for hot summer nights—utilize window fans! Position them to blow air into your home, creating a pleasant breeze and promoting air circulation. This simple technique can help lower the temperature while keeping the air fresh. During the daytime, remove the fans and close the windows to trap the cool air inside.
By using fans instead of relying solely on air conditioning, you can significantly reduce your energy consumption and save on utility bills. Remember, fans work best when you ensure proper airflow by opening windows during cooler hours and closing them when it gets hotter outside. So, embrace the power of fans and enjoy a cool and comfortable summer without breaking the bank!
3. Keep the Air In and the Energy Savings Flowing!
Did you know that the tiny gaps and cracks around your home can add up to the same energy loss as leaving a window wide open? It’s true! But don’t worry, sealing those air leaks is a simple and affordable way to enhance both the comfort and energy efficiency of your home.
By taking the time to seal air leaks, you can keep the cool air in during the summer and the warm air in during the winter. This means you won’t have to rely as much on your heating or cooling systems, resulting in significant cost savings. In fact, sealing air leaks can potentially reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 20%!
To get started, here are a few key areas to focus on:
- Windows and doors: Check for any gaps or cracks around your windows and doors. Weatherstripping or caulking can be used to seal these areas effectively or install low-cost compressible foam to create a tight seal around doors. Also seal the doors leading into any unheated areas of your home, such as the garage. You can also help reduce air leakage at the bottom of exterior doors by installing sweeps (metal or plastic strips you applied to the bottom of the door, or use rolled up towels for a no-cost solution.
- Electrical outlets and switches: Believe it or not, even the outlets and switches on your walls can be sources of air leaks. Install foam gaskets behind them to prevent air from seeping through, it’s an easy DIY project.
- Attic and basement: Inspect your attic and basement for any gaps, holes, or cracks. Use spray foam insulation or caulk to seal these openings and prevent unwanted air infiltration.
- Ductwork: Don’t forget about your ductwork! Leaky ducts can lead to significant energy loss. Seal any leaks with specialized duct sealant or foil tape.
Hire a professional: Consider hiring a professional to perform air leak assessment and sealing. Certified home energy auditors can identify air leaks in your home using techniques such as a blower door test or thermal camera imaging.
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Staying cool and saving energy in our homes during the summer is not only important for our own comfort but also for the environment and our wallets. By implementing these easy DIY energy-saving tips, such as installing window shades, sealing air leaks, and using fans instead of relying solely on air conditioning, we can significantly reduce our energy consumption and lower our utility bills while staying comfortable in our homes during the hot summer months.