From our Friends @HappyHiller :
How to Stay Cool & Comfortable, on Budget
Do you know how costly it is to stay cool? Depending on location, the average American family spends between $300-$600 a year on cooling. Beyond installing a brand-new, more efficient air conditioning unit, there are simple cooling solutions that don’t require an upfront investment.
When looking to implement new techniques for keeping your home cool and comfortable this summer, consider the individual demands posed by your family, property, and the surrounding climate.
Is it the daytime heat you need to beat? Don’t overextend your wallet without first learning about alternative ways to stay cool. Does the heat haunt you throughout the night? There are ways to snooze without sweat.
Hiller wants to help you become the low-cost energy leader in your neighborhood! Here’s how:
1. Close the blinds by day
Unwanted air penetrates your home through the windows. In fact, 30% of hot air in the home can be attributed to uncovered windows. Pulling down the blinds is a simple way to stay cooler during the day.
2. Open the windows at night
Let the refreshing night air in. By opening your windows and strategically placing fans, you can create a relaxing cross breeze without turning on the A/C. Be sure to close the windows and shut the blinds before the sun comes up when things start heating up again.
3. Shut bedroom doors
During the day, close off any room that is unused. Simply by shutting doors, you ensure that air conditioned air is gliding through a smaller space, thus cooling inhabited spaces faster. The A/C won’t be wasted on cooling down unnecessary rooms that no one is in. When the air is cooler at night, go ahead and open the doors and let cool air flow naturally through the home.
4. Nighttime chore party
Wait until the sun is down to bust out the vacuum cleaner and run the washer and dryer. Not only do chores use a lot of energy, but these appliances also make the house hotter! Heat emits from the dryer into the home. Laundry and other chores also involve running the hot water heater and using excess electricity. Plus, your body temperature is much less likely to overheat if you’re scrubbing sans-sunlight.
5. Pick the right temperature
During the summer, keep your thermostat at a cooling, yet reasonable temperature. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping your thermostat at 78-degrees and then using extra cooling support from fans and wearing proper clothing, such as loose cotton. If 78° seems a bit high to you, anything at or above 75° will be more energy efficient.
As a maintenance reminder, be sure to change your A/C filter monthly, or as needed. A clogged, dirty filter provides less effective airflow and negatively impacts indoor air quality by pushing re-circulated pollutants and debris into your living space.
6. Counter-clockwise ceiling fans
Most every household fan will have two functions: clockwise and counter-clockwise. Clockwise is commonly used in the winter. You can tell that a ceiling fan is set to clockwise if you cannot feel cool air blowing down on you; the air is blowing up.
Counter-clockwise is the summer setting. You should be able to immediately feel the cool air blowing on your body and around the room; the air is blowing down. Run the fan at a high setting and really get that breeze flowing around. A ceiling fan on high can make you feel 3-4 degrees cooler, and that can be the difference between discomfort and cool this summer.
7. Cooler ways to sleep
It can be such a struggle to get a good snooze when it’s humid or hot at night. Tossing and turning is not ideal, especially if you’re on summer vacation and looking to relax and catch up on sleep! You may need to get creative, but these four C’s should help: cotton, ceiling fans, cross breeze & cold showers.
- Cotton bed sheets – Switch up your sheets for the new summer season. Cotton and other natural fibers are breathable and light; the least heat absorbent materials you can get for bed sheets. Definitely avoid flannel or silk. Although silk is lightweight, it insulates heat around your body. Besides weight of fabric, consider the color of the sheets. A lightweight cotton sheet in a light color is the way to go.
- Ceiling fans – If you have them, turn them on high! Just be sure they are rotating on the counter-clockwise setting.
- Crack the windows – Strategically place standalone fans to blow across from a cracked window to create a cooling effect throughout the whole room. Consider moving your bed to best compliment the cross breeze.
- Cold shower – Before jumping under the cotton sheets, enjoy a cold water shower. Not only will this lower your water heater bill, but it will also refresh you after a long, sweaty day. Contrary to popular belief, cold water showers are actually proven to help you fall into a deeper sleep. Do yourself a favor and cool down your body before you head to bed.