When the weather gets warmer, do you automatically change your thermostat from heat to air conditioning? Before you make the switch, consider some easy ways you can keep your house cool this summer. You’ll save money and energy and still be comfortable.
Yes, electric fans do use electricity, but they use far less than central or wall unit air conditioning. There are several different types of fans you can employ to keep your house cool:
* Ceiling fans are effective at circulating air throughout a room. They can switch directions to draw hot air up or push it back down, depending on your needs. They also have variable speeds, and do not take up floor or window space. They do have to be installed, but an electrician (or handy homeowner) can hook one up to an existing overhead light fixture in minutes.
* Window fans, or exhaust fans, fit into an open window and can expand to fit whatever size window you have (generally speaking). They can be placed vertically or horizontally, and come in double or single fan varieties. These are remarkable at cooling a room in a short period of time. They can be faced outward to draw hot air out, or inward to bring cool air in from outside. Some types of window fans come with filters to purify outside air as it comes in.
* Portable fans are what many of us are most familiar with. These can be propped in an open window, set on the floor, or on a tabletop. These are fairly inexpensive and can be distributed throughout the home.
All fans should be turned off when no one is in the room.
2. Shade Windows
Sunshine pouring into your windows may be bright and cheery, but it’s heating up your house. Consider shades or curtains for those hours of the day when sun comes through the windows. If you don’t want to block out the scenery, you can get thin sheets of “tinting” that are transparent but filter out sunlight. This acts something like sunglasses for your windows.
3. Open Windows
Try to open windows that are across from each other to achieve cross-ventilation. At night, when the air is cooler, make sure the shades and curtains are open to let in the outside air.
4. Plant Shade Trees or Shrubs
There are varieties of trees and shrubs that can grow six or more feet in one growing season. Even if you don’t need something that fast, planting shade trees and shrubs along the sunniest areas of your property can really help keep your house cool. You can also plant shrubs such as rhododendron or forsythia that you can allow to grow up over your windows in the summer, then they can be trimmed back to let sunshine in during the winter.
5. Turn Off Lights
Remember your parents telling you to turn off the lights when you leave a room? They were right, but consider turning off the lights when you are in the room as well. Make the most of daylight and only turn on lights when really necessary. If you haven’t already, invest in fluorescent or compact fluorescent lighting for your home. These types of lights are much cooler than incandescent or halogen lights.