The summer heat is on, leaving many of us struggling to remember the best low-cost home cooling tips we heard last year. Here are a bunch of tips we found, feel free to email us your best tip to email@example.com!
For starters, it is best to shade east and west windows. These are the windows that receive the most direct morning and evening sun.
For the most intense summer days, keep windows and doors closed tight during the day. This prolongs the cooler nighttime temperature by keeping out unwanted heat and humidity. Then, at night, ventilate by opening windows or turning on fans. The house will generally be cooled by ventilation if the outside temperature is 77 F or lower, which usually occurs at night.
White window shades or mini-blinds are reflective and reduce the heat absorbed by sunlight. White mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain in the home by 40 to 50 percent.
Keep curtains closed on south and west facing windows during the day.
A nice awning can cool a window where the roof overhang is too short to provide shade.
Tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside a window can block 60 to 80 percent of the sun’s heat while still allowing some light to come through.
Window fans should be located on the downwind side of the house, facing out. A window should be open in each room, allowing outside air to flow through every space in the house. Interior doors should also remain open to allow air to flow.
Adjusting daily routines and chores can also beat the heat inside.
Ceiling fans can make a room more comfortable at higher thermostat settings. A slow moving, ceiling-mounted paddle fan can easily provide a breeze of about 2.5 ft/sec or 1.7 mph, the breeze needed to make an 82 F room comfortable.
You can comfortably keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees F or higher if using ceiling fans.
You can delay heat-generating chores like dishwashing and stovetop cooking until evening to cut down on heat produced indoors.
Try to limit indoor moisture sources, like wet mops, large open water containers and wet laundry or towels. Excess moisture can make the house feel humid and muggy.
Of course, an air conditioner can bring down the interior temperature of the house, but homeowners can take measures to make air conditioning more effective at a lower cost.
If you have a central air conditioner older more than 15 years old, consider replacing it with a high-efficiency unit. Most current units can save up to 30 percent on electric bills when compared to older models.
If buying a new air conditioner, be sure that it is properly sized for its window and for the home it will service. Energy auditors and air conditioning contractors are happy to help with sizing questions. Several studies have found that most central air conditioning systems are oversized by 50 percent or more.
Energy efficiency ratio (EER) ratings give an idea of how efficient an air conditioner is. For example, a unit expected to cool a single room should have a rating above 10. If expected to cool the entire house, the unit should have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating greater than 12.
Air conditioning models with variable or multi-speed blowers are best for reducing moisture.
It is best not to use a dehumidifier and air conditioner at the same time. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder, which can significantly increase energy costs.
Maintain air conditioners properly to maximize efficiency. Make sure that air conditioner ducts are securely sealed, and insulate ducts that run through unheated rooms or basements. Clean your the air filter every month during the summer. Normal dust accumulation can reduce air flow by 1 percent per week.
If possible, shade the outdoor portion of central air conditioning units. This will increase the unit’s efficiency by 5 to 10 percent.
Close doors to seal out unused rooms. This reduces the total area that the air conditioner has to cool.
For a more long-term solution, plant shade trees outside the house so their shadows cover windows and walls. However, be careful not to plant trees to the South of the house if you also want to benefit from the sun’s warmth in the winter.
There is also a new service called “exotic infills” that fills the space between double paned windows with krypton or argon gas, which are better insulators than air and reduce the heat absorbed through the window.
You can find these and more home cooling tips in the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings by Alex Wilson, Jennifer Thorne, and John Morrill of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or at http://www.care2.com/greenliving/keep-house-cool-23-tips.html#ixzz35flQtyDa