Summer weather is something that we all enjoy, but just as heating costs raise our electric bills during the winter, cooling costs can have a same effect during the hot summer months.
During the spring you might be afforded a few weeks where you can leave the windows open, turn off the air conditioning and enjoy the 70 degree temperatures, though you’ll eventually need to seal things up and set the thermostat.
Once that happens, it’s hard to control costs at all, even if you’re careful with the thermostat. Putting up with warmer temperatures in your house is an option, but even with the thermostat at 75 on a 90 degree day, it’s going to do a lot of work and cost you a lot of money.
What we need to do is supplement our thermostat and give it a little “organic help” with keeping the house cool.
Here are a few methods that might do the trick.
Play off the Sunrise and Sunset — You can use the sun to your advantage by pulling blinds or opening windows depending on the time of day. Here’s what you do, step by step:
- Figure out which side of your house the sun rises in the morning, then close those windows and pull the blinds and/or curtains shut.
- If you’re going to be gone most of the day, pull all your blinds and curtains shut.
- In the evening, when the sun goes down and things cool off, go ahead and open your blinds and curtains back up.
- If it gets cool enough at night (less than what you have your thermostat set at) leave the windows open until morning and turn off the air.
It’s a bit of a process but being diligent about this can really help to cool your house down during those summer months, especially if you live in an area where nights are particularly cold. Keeping blinds and curtains drawn will help keep heat from the sun from coming through the windows and heating up your house more.
Install higher R-Value Insulation in the Attic — The R-Value of insulation is simply a number that indicates how slow heat passes through it. The higher the R-Value, the more efficient the insulation will be at keeping heat out of your home.
If you have an attic or a storage area in the roof of your home, install some insulation with an R-Value of 50-70 in that space to keep heat from the roof from coming into your home. This can be particularly effective if you’re dealing with a tin roof that retains a lot of heat.
Cook Cooler Meals and Avoid using the Stove — If you can keep from using the stove during the summer months, you’ll avoid some blocks of unnecessary cooling costs that can really add up by the time fall rolls around. Here are a few things you can do to stay away from the stovetop and oven when it’s 90 degrees outside.
- Cook hot food on the grill instead. — The grill is already a great summer activity, so use it instead of cooking hot meals inside.
- Prepare cold meals during the afternoon, and save the warm ones for evening. — Eating lunch is usually a quicker process than dinner, so use that to your advantage by having simpler, cooler food like salads and sandwiches, while saving the hot food for the evening meal.
- Make ice based desserts instead of bakes desserts. — Smoothies, ice cream and cold drinks are much better dessert options during the hot summer months, as anything baking in the oven will generate a lot of heat, which alone can cost money. Having that heat fight against your air conditioning will run up the cost of an apple pie even more.
Some of us love the heat, while others can’t stand it; though I’m confident that we can all agree that the spike in our electric bill is a universally unpleasant side effect of warmer weather. Taking the time and putting forth the effort to keep it in check, is well worth our while, regardless of how much we enjoy or dislike the heat.
If we do the little things and make sure that we’re not paying for unnecessary cooling costs, the long summer days and warm nights will be easier to enjoy and less of a chore.
Kurt Cerrato has been designing home appliances for 7 years. His articles mainly appear on home improvement blogs where he enjoys sharing his tips and expertise. Learn which portable air conditioner is right for your needs, visit the link.