The summer months are full of fun. Trips to the beach, ice cream cones, dips in the pool – what could be better? But when outside temperatures soar into the 80s and 90s, the heat and humidity can really put a damper on things. Luckily, there are a lot of different ways you can help keep your home comfortable and cool this summer, and many of them are low-cost and easy to implement.
Here are 10 tips for you to consider:
1. Use an outdoor grill instead of cooking indoors. Summer is a great time to break out the grill and cook outside. By grilling outdoors instead of using your kitchen oven or stovetop, you can cut down on heat build-up inside your home and create a cooler indoor environment.
2. Install central air. While it can be expensive to install, a central air conditioning system is probably one of the most effective, efficient ways to keep soaring temperatures at bay inside your house. The good news is that if you’re a resident of Massachusetts, you may be eligible for an interest-free loan to help install energy-efficient cooling upgrades through the Mass Save® HEAT Loan program.
3. Replace your windows. Drafty windows allow hot air to seep into your home, making it hotter and more humid in the process. And if you have an AC system, it has to work harder to combat that extra heat, and your energy bill will increase as a result. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat transfer through windows accounts for up to 30% of a home’s cooling energy use. Swapping out your old windows with energy efficient replacements can help keep your home more comfortable and reduce your energy costs. And if you’re a resident of Massachusetts, you could qualify for no-interest financing to install ENERGY STAR® replacement windows through the Mass Save HEAT Loan program.
4. Use blackout curtains and shades. Another low-cost technique for keeping your house cool is using blackout curtains or shades, and keeping them drawn during the day. These window treatments provide insulation and light reduction, helping to prevent outside heat and sunlight from entering your home.
5. Use fans in conjunction with AC. If you have an AC system, don’t think that fans don’t apply to you! Using ceiling or floor fans along with air conditioning can help circulate the cold air from your AC vents, allowing you to set your thermostat a little higher (and save some money in the process) while still remaining comfortable. Just be sure not to run ventilation fans like window fans or whole-house fans while your AC is running. Those types of fans move air into and out of your home, and will not have the same effect.
6. Switch your ceiling fans to counter-clockwise rotation. If you have ceiling fans, remember to switch them so they rotate counter-clockwise. This will push cool air downward instead of pulling it upward (which is ideal in the winter months). By moving the cool air down and into the room, your ceiling fans can help evaporate moisture and create a “wind chill” effect to help make the room more comfortable.
7. Use a dehumidifier. Since dry air feels cooler than wet air, high levels of humidity in your home can make it feel warmer than it actually is. By using a dehumidifier in your home, you can help remove extra moisture in the air, allowing you to feel more comfortable indoors. And, having a less humid home will save you money on air conditioning costs as well. When your home feels cooler because it’s less humid, you’re likely to use your AC less, or set it at a higher temperature.
8. Insulate your attic. This may sound strange, but summer is a good time to insulate. A lot of people think insulation is only beneficial during colder months, but it serves a dual purpose of keeping your house cool in the summer (by preventing hot air from getting in) and warm in the winter (by preventing hot air from seeping out). Since most heat transfer happens through the roof and ceiling, it’s wise to adequately insulate your attic. And residents of Massachusetts and Rhode Island could be eligible for an interest-free loan to help insulate their homes through the Mass Save HEAT Loan program and the Rhode Island 0% Financing Program offered by National Grid.
9. Turn off lights when possible. Remember that whenever lights are on, they’re generating heat. So the less you use them, the better off you’ll be. And some types of lights give off more heat and use more energy than others, so replacing your bulbs with more efficient lighting could be helpful as well, and help you save money on energy costs. It may be a good idea to sign up for a free home energy assessment. They’re available in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and can provide you with energy-saving products like ENERGY STAR® LED light bulbs at no cost.
10. Consider installing solar panels. Not only can solar panels help reduce your energy bills, but some studies have shown that solar panels can also help to shade and insulate your home, blocking sunlight from hitting the roof and preventing the sun’s heat from entering the house.
By following at least some of these tips, you can help make your home a comfortable place to be while the temperatures and humidity levels climb outside. Good luck beating the heat this summer!