Tips for Staying Cool in the Summer
1. “What Temperature Should I Set My Thermostat?” The Higher the Better
By setting your thermostat at a warmer temperature, your home will stay at a more consistent temperature and will reduce the number of times your air conditioning unit has to kick on during the day. Adjusting the temperature setting anywhere from 2-8 degrees can have a huge impact on your energy usage and costs, but the most optimal temperature to set your air conditioner to in the summer is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a programmable, smart thermostat, it is highly recommended to upgrade to one, as the future cost savings are invaluable. If you do have a programmable thermostat in your home but don’t know how to schedule it, take the time to find out. Setting your thermostat according to your families schedule will keep your home cooled more cost-efficiently by keeping it cooler when you and your family are home, and allowing it to stay toasty while everyone is at school or work.
2. Clean Your Air Conditioning Unit (And Supporting Pieces)
A dirty air conditioning unit can severely limit your system’s efficiency. Dirty vents and filters can keep air and cooling elements from running fluidly through the system, which means your air conditioner has to use more electricity to cool air. Whether you have a window unit or central air conditioner, make sure to clean the outdoor elements to ensure they are free of all dirt and debris. Additionally, keep vents throughout your house dust-free and unblocked by furniture or window coverings. In general, keeping your home free of dust and dirt will not only make your system run more efficiently, but it will also lead to better air quality.
3. Keep Lights, Lamps and Electronics Away From Your Thermostat
Lights, lamps and electronics all generate heat, which can prompt your thermostat to turn on more than necessary. By moving heat-creating devices away from the thermostat, it will allow your thermostat to read your home’s temperature more accurately and reduce the number of times the air conditioning kicks on. It will also reduce the amount of time the air conditioner stays on. In regards to lights and lamps specifically, it can be beneficial to take advantage of the natural light that long summer days offer and refrain from turning lights on from the daytime entirely. You can thus save hours on your light bulbs, prevent their heat from warming up your home, and save money! If the amount of heat generated from the natural light is making you uncomfortable, simply open a window and allow a nice summer breeze to cool you down.
4. Avoid Using Your Dryer or Oven
Avoid using large home devices that make your house hot if possible, such as dryers and ovens, as this will cause your air conditioner to work even harder to cool down your home. Instead, opt for options with energy efficiency in mind such as line-drying your clothes, or grilling outside. Grilling demands less energy than an oven and even releases heat outside of your home, unlike an oven. If you absolutely must use heat-generating devices indoors, try to use them during the coolest parts of the day such as early morning or after the sun goes down to mitigate the impact of the additional heat they create. If you are in a cooking pinch, opt for a microwave to heat up your food as opposed to the stove, toaster oven, or conventional oven.
5. Keep Blinds and Curtains Closed
You know how cars get extra hot on sunny days, especially when you don’t cover your windshield? Houses work the same way. Windows can create a sauna-like environment that raises the temperature of your living space. To help diffuse the heat, make sure the blinds, drapes and curtains are closed before you leave during the day, and always cover windows in rooms that are not frequently in use. Not only will this keep your house cooler, but it will reduce the amount of extra work your air conditioner has to put in during the summer, positively impacting your energy savings. Pro Tip: investing in landscaping such as trees or tall shrubs in front of windows will aid in absorbing and offering your home more shade.
6. Use Your Fans
This tip is simple, but effective. Although fans don’t reduce the temperature of your home, they can make you feel cooler by creating air flow. Because of this, make sure to only use fans in rooms that are currently being occupied, or else you will be unnecessarily wasting energy. Instead of immediately cranking the AC when your home is too warm, consider instead turning the air conditioning down by one or two degrees and sit in a room with a fan while the house gradually cools. This will also prevent creating temperature extremes in your home, which can be costly and uncomfortable.
7. Make Sure Your Attic is Properly Ventilated
Most roofs are made of a dark material that attracts sunlight. This can be great in the winter, but if your attic is improperly ventilated, you can end up raising the temperature of your house, a huge con in the hot summertime. Ideally in all seasons, attics should be vented to allow heat to escape. Are you not sure if your attic is well ventilated? Try touching the ceiling on a hot day. An attic with too much trapped heat will feel warm to the touch. Although ventilating your attic is more of an initially costly and time consuming investment than changing your thermostat, it can save you money in the long run (and hint, you can ventilate your attic yourself if hiring a pro is too expensive.)
78: The Magic Number For Staying Cool and Saving Money This Summer
There are many cost effective ways to stay cool this summer, but the one that will keep you ahead of the game is to set the temperature of your air conditioner to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, that sounds uncomfortably high at face value, but it will make a huge impact on reducing the amount of work your air conditioner has to do in order to cool down your home. Using a fan in whatever room you are current using will make that higher temperature feel cooler than it really is, and closing the blinds will definitely make you feel more comfortable. Whatever method you choose to stay cool indoors this summer, know that you don’t have to break the bank to do so.