6. Use Fans for Cooling
A paddle ceiling fan or portable fan uses much less energy than an air conditioner, but it’s only effective when you’re in the room to feel the cooling, so turn fans off when you leave.
When you need to beat the heat, run ceiling fans in a counterclockwise direction (when looking up) when you’re in the room to help keep you cool through evaporation. This will allow you to set the thermostat on your air conditioner higher and save energy.
7. Clean Air Conditioner Filters
While your AC system is cranking away, the filter is getting more use than usual. Changing the AC air filter every month or so during the highest-use months allows air to flow easily through your HVAC system, making it run more efficiently and saving energy.
8. Put Off Chores
You heard me! Don’t run the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, or other appliances during the heat of the day, since these machines generate heat and humidity that will be hard to overcome.
If you really want to beat the heat, you need to change your habits — just for the summer — and put these chores off until evening when possible.
When cleaning clothes:
- Wash clothes in cold water.
- Run the washer or dryer only if you have a full load.
- Choose the shortest wash cycle that gets the job done.
- Clean dryer vent pipe and lint screen regularly to lower drying time.
- Dry clothes outside on a clothesline when possible.
9. Use Less Hot Water
Turn your water heater down to a lower temperature setting so it will run less and produce less heat.
Hot showers create a lot of excess heat and humidity in the house, so:
- Take shorter showers to reduce humidity and heat.
- Take cool — rather than hot — showers.
- Run the bathroom exhaust fan when showering or bathing, and keep it running for 20 minutes afterward, to remove excess heat and humidity.
10. Plan Ahead
Long-term strategies to beat the heat and keep your house cooler include:
- Plant shade trees on the south and west sides of the house.
- Install insulated glass windows with low-E coating or storm windows.
- Add awnings over sunny windows.
- Install additional attic insulation.
- Replace the existing roof with cool shingles or light-colored roofing.
These are only a few of the many strategies for keeping your house cool in the summer. Put some of these home improvements on your to-do list for relief in years to come.
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