11 Tips for Keeping your Home Cool without Air Conditioning
Keeping your Home Cool in the Hot Heat
The other day the thermostat in our office hit 80 degrees. After the snowstorm in early April, this was a complete shock to our systems – we all felt like we were dying.
Our office is equipped with cold-climate heat pumps, but being the “resourceful” (read: stubborn and frugal) Vermonters that we are, we refused to turn them on – it’s April, for goodness sake!
So we shed layers, pulled down the awnings, opened windows and doors to create a cross breeze, and put on more coffee to fight off the drowsiness.
If you’re transitioning to summer temperatures as poorly as we are, here are some tips to keep your home cool and save money this summer.
Something you might find surprising – a lot of them are the same tips & tricks we use to keep our homes warm and our energy bills low.
To cut to the chase to the most savings and most comfortable home, schedule a low-cost comprehensive energy audit today and learn how to make the most cost-effective heating and cooling upgrades today!
1. Close your windows during the day
This seems counter-intuitive, we know, but you want to lock in that cool morning air. Close your west- and south-facing windows and draw the shades, pull the curtains, or lower the blinds before it has time to bake the air in your home. Keep them closed until the sun sets.
2. Open the windows at night
Once the sun has gone down and temperatures have dropped past 75 degrees outside, go ahead and open windows and doors to create a cross breeze in the house. Position fans so that warm air is being pushed out of your bedroom and cool air is being blown in.
3. Swap your sheets
Put your flannel, wool, fleece, and other synthetic fabric sheets into the closet for the summer, and break out the cotton sheets. Natural fibers, like cotton and linen, are breathable and they’ll wick away perspiration, keeping you cool and dry through the night.
We’ve also heard that buckwheat pillows can help – the buckwheat hulls within the pillow allow for air movement, which keeps you cool. You can also throw these pillows into the freezer to keep you nice and chill. Bonus- they’re hypo-allergenic.
4. Turn on bathroom fans & kitchen fans
Make sure you’re using your fans and keeping moisture and warm air from staying in your home. We’d suggest taking cool showers, but if that’s not something you’re into, make sure to keep the bathroom fan on (during and after your shower) to wick away the moisture and warmth immediately.
This is not only good for keeping your home cool, but also to keep it healthy – excess moisture is your enemy inside your house.
5. Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise
Ceiling fans have a small switch on them which directs their movement – stand beneath the fan and make sure you immediately feel a breeze from the fan. Keep it running at higher speeds to keep the air moving on hot summer days. When fall comes around, switch direction and keep it on a slower setting to help distribute heat.
6. Switch to LEDs
We all know that incandescent bulbs are wasteful – by using these inefficient lights, you’re wasting around $18 per year PER BULB. But – it gets worse – did you know that as much as 90% of the electricity used by an incandescent bulb is converted to heat rather than light? YEP.
So not only are these dinosaurs emptying your pockets, they’re heating up your home during those hot summer months. So, switch out your light bulbs.
Bonus: Efficiency Vermont works with local retailers to offer LED’s starting at 95 cents a pop through June 30, 2017 – be sure to take advantage of the deal while it lasts!
7. Get into the swing of summer
A few behavioral tips:
- Grill, microwave, or eat a cold dinner instead of using the oven or stovetop
- Save cooking and baking for the morning or night
- Run the dishwasher and washing machines at night
- Wash your clothes and shower with cold water
- Avoid the dryer machine and hang your clothes out to dry
8. Install tinted or low-E window films
Window films give you many of the benefits of replacement windows without the expense. These adhesive films retain interior heat in the winter and block exterior heat from entering the house in the summer.
Apply these to south- and west-facing windows to limit the incoming heat. Added bonus: they reduce the glare that can obstruct the view of your computer or TV screen AND they protect your furniture, floors, and curtains from being bleached by the sun.
9. Replace weatherstripping and air seal
Whether you have AC or you’ve followed the above steps, you want to keep the cool air in your home. Replacing the weatherstripping around your doors and windows helps to keep the cool air from escaping and prevents the warm air from seeping in.
After air sealing, install insulation. Insulation will help slow the transfer of heat from the attic to the living space below. Insulation, in conjunction with air sealing, works to inhibit heat flow. Since heat moves from warmer areas to cooler areas, heat will attempt to enter your home during the summer. Insulation and air sealing reduce this from happening.
Schedule an Energy Audit to learn if your insulation is adequate (hint: if you’ve got the pink stuff, it’s probably not).
11. Use foliage to shade
Plant deciduous trees on the east and west sides of your home. In the summer, their leaves will block the amount of light that hits your house and streams though the windows.
In the winter, they’ll lose their leaves, allowing light to warm your home, and they’ll act as windbreakers for that chilly winter wind.
For more information:
To learn more about how weatherization can make your home cooler and more comfortable in the summer while reducing your energy bills, contact HEAT Squad today and schedule an Energy Audit.