7 tips to keep your Home Cool in the Summer

When the temperature outside hits high digits, it can be tempting to to simply close the windows and and crank up the AC to get your home to a comfortable 65 degrees. Unfortunately, air conditioning comes with high electricity costs, so finding ways to keep your home cool without depending on energy-intensive HVAC systems will be a central tenet of a sustainable home

1. Manage the light entering your home

When sunlight shines through your windows, it increases the amount of heat that builds up inside your house. While you could opt for a windowless home, most of us are not up for living underground. fortunately, there are strategies to manage the light entering your home thus helping to keep your home from heating up. 

2. Can you reduce the heat gain through windows? 

On hot summer days, shutting the windows, curtains or blinds will help keep the heat out. If you spend large amounts of time away from your home, you can program smart blinds to open and close during certain hours of the day. The early morning and late evening light will most likely not bring excess heat. At those times, you can open the windows and curtains to provide for a cool breeze with natural ventilation. 

3. Strategic use of fans

Ceilings fans can help to create a downdraft that will circulate air in the home. The air movement will evaporate moisture on the surface of your skin, creating a natural cooling effect. Since ceilings fans only cool people (and not entire rooms since they don't produce cool air), you should be sure to turn them off when the room is left unoccupied. 

4. Limit the use of appliances that produce heat 

 There are several appliances around the home that produce large amounts of heat. If you must dry your clothes with the dryer, do so at night when the temperature drops. Better yet, consider drying your clothes during the spring, summer and fall months with an outdoor clothesline. Drying otuside saves energy and keeps your home cooler

Limit cooking on a stovetop and baking in a hot oven during the middle of the day. Instead, consider using the microwave or eating chilled meals. 

5. Can you control home humidity in the summer? 

High humiditiy levels inside the home will only increase the feeling of uncomfortable heat. A dehumidifier can help keep things more comfortable on really humid days. Portable dehumidifiers are ideal for addressing minor moisture problems. Still, they are not an alternative for proper ventilation, like energy-recovery ventilators commin in well-sealed, modern homes. When doing activities that produce moisture and heat, such as cooking showering, washing, or running the dishwasher, always use exahaust fans or open the windows. Let the exhaust fan run for about 10 minutes after showering. 

6. Sleeping strategies 

When people are away from their homes during the hottest hours of the day, it has time to gather heat and will most likely be hot and stuffy during the nightime as well. If the temperature in your area does get significantly cooler in the evenings, simply opening the windows should cool your house down to a comfortable temperature. 

7. When you need your air conditioner

For those heat waves when 95-degree temperatures can feel like a cool down, you'll want to make use of your air conditioner to cool the indoor air. For the most effecient use of your air conditioning unit, make sure the vents are not blocked with drapes or furniture. In addition, the outside unit will need to be cleaned periodically of leaves and other debris. Setting the thermostat at the higher end of the range will lower air-conditioning costs and energy usage. 

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