9 Tips on Keeping Your Home Cool This Summer
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on July 17, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
1. Open The Windows
As soon as the air outside becomes cooler that the air inside your home, immediately open the windows. A gentle breeze blowing your house is the perfect accompaniment to a hot summer’s night.
During the daytime, keep the windows and blinds closed to keep in the coolness from the night before. Keeping the windows and blinds closed will also work to reflect back the light and the heat the sun shines down upon your house.
2. Use Fans
Ceiling fans work by moving the air around your room. Make sure that the fan is blowing in the correct direction. You can tell this by looking at the blades; if the leading edge is higher than back edge of the blade then the fan is pushing the air downwards. The fan should blow downwards in the summer and upwards in the winter.
If you don’t already have one, install an attic fan. Such a fan moves the air around and pulls in cooler air from outside at the same time. Make sure that you open your windows at night first, before turning on the attic fan.
Another household fan to run is the fan in your furnace. Most thermostats allow you to turn on the fan without running the furnace or air conditioner. The furnace fan will cause the air in your house to be circulated thoroughly and will therefore eliminate any hot or cold spots. Turning on the furnace fan also helps to catch any allergens that have entered your home through the open windows. However, you should regularly check and replace the filter inside your furnace.
3. Install an Energy-Efficient Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can be your best friend in summer. You should program it to increase by 5 degrees just before you leave for work and have it scheduled to return to its regular temperature just before you come home.
During the summer months it is recommended that you set your thermostat to 78 degrees, specifically if you have central air. However, if you really want to pile up the savings, consider increasing an extra degree or two. Each degree raised above 78 is equal to a savings of nearly 6 – 7%.
4. Close The Vents
Remember to close the air vents in rooms that are not being constantly used in your house. This will help to force more cooling air to come out of the vents that are in rooms that are commonly used, such as a bedroom or living room.
5. Turn Off the Lights
Everyone knows that one of the major aspects to energy saving in your home is to turn off your unused lights. However, turning off the lights can actually help reduce the amount of heat inside your home too. Most every light bulb generates heat as a consequence of emitting light.
6. Avoid the Stove
Turning on the stove in order to cook a meal can greatly increase the amount of heat inside your house. So either prepare meals in advance and just reheat them in the microwave, eat healthy salads, or have a barbeque outside on the grill. However, if you really have to turn on the oven make sure that you do it later in the evening after the windows have been opened.
7. Leave the Laundry
Although that may sound too good to be true, instead of doing the laundry during the daytime hours, try to do it later in the evening. A dryer emits quite a bit of heat that, although is vented outside, can still leak back in your house. The later it is in the evening, the cooler it will be and the less likely that your dryer’s excess heat will add further warmth to your house.
8. Unplug Electronics
Remember that not only are plugged in electronics still generating electricity, they are also turning that same power into harmful heat. So unplug any electronic device that you are not currently using and place those that you are, onto surge protectors.
9. Spend More Time On The Lowest Level Of Your House
It is a simple fact that hot air rises. Try to avoid spending time on the upper levels of your house during summer. Instead convert your basement into a family room and congregate there.
Photo Credit: wharman
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan