As the temperature starts to climb, so does the cost of cooling your home. When warm temperatures hit, you’ll need a way to stay cool while staying on budget. Before you crank up the air conditioning or stand in front of an open freezer, try some of these cost-effective and energy-efficient cooling tricks first.
Utilize Window Coverings
While you might be tempted to throw open your curtains on a sunny day, keep your window coverings closed. Sun filters through windows, warming up the space beyond. This is called heat gain. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drawing your curtains or closing your blinds can reduce heat gain by up to 45 percent.
Just make sure you give any accumulated heat somewhere to go. Release trapped air by opening up your blinds and windows once the temperature outside finally starts to drop.
Set Ceiling Fans to Rotate Counter-Clockwise
Ceiling fans are among the most energy-efficient home appliances. Of course, energy consumption levels depend on the size of a fan’s motor and the speed at which it runs. But on average, ceiling fans consume anywhere from 10 to 100 watts of energy. Compare that to the 2,000 to 5,000 watts of energy gobbled up by air conditioners, and you can see why ceiling fans are such a popular feature.
Maximize your fan’s effectiveness and efficiency by changing the direction your fan spins. In the winter, set your ceiling fans to run in a clockwise direction and at a lower speed. This produces a gentle updraft, dispersing warm air more evenly throughout the room.
During warmer months, reverse fan rotation. The airflow produced by counter-clockwise rotation creates a windchill effect. It makes you feel cooler by pushing air downward.
Cool From the Inside Out
Rather than focusing on the temperature of your home, pay attention to your body temperature. Cool your body from the inside out by staying hydrated and wearing light, breathable clothing. You can also drape a cold washcloth across your wrists or perch an ice pack on the back of your neck. Applying a cold compress to major pulse points can lower your core temperature.
Swap Your Sheets
With each new season, many people adjust their wardrobe to match changes in temperature. Heavy sweaters and knits for winter, with tank tops and linens for summer.
Why not do the same with your bedding?
Stay comfortable all year round by seasonally swapping out your bedding. During warmer months, trade in those insulating flannel sheets for more breathable material such as cotton. There are also many cooling pillows and sheet sets available for purchase.
However, you can make your own cool-inducing bedding by throwing your sheets or pillowcases in the freezer. Your bedding may be a bit stiff when you first take it out of the freezer but will thaw and loosen up as you sleep.
Fire up the Grill
Summer isn’t the best time to spend hours laboring over a hot stove. Lay off stove-top and baked dishes to avoid producing additional heat and discomfort.
Heavy meals tend to sit in your gut longer, producing more body heat. Lighter fare, such as chilled fruit or a tossed salad, is easier to prepare and metabolize. If you have to cook hot food, stay away from the oven. Instead, head outside to the grill. It’s the perfect excuse to host a poolside barbecue.
If these cost-saving tricks aren’t enough to buffer your home from summer heat, there’s a way you can crank the A/C and still save money. A well-maintained air conditioning unit is an efficient unit.
Contact a heating and cooling expert for an A/C tune-up. HVAC professionals can ensure your unit is running at maximum efficiency so you no longer have to sweat the heat — or your utility bill.