Here's Your Yearly Rundown Of How To Keep Your Home Cool Yet Energy-Conscious In A Heatwave
It's that time of year again, when temperatures rise and make you face the choice between a hot home or a hot utility bill. Whether you're a homeowner or renter, keeping your home cool while not sending that bill into the stratosphere involves a delicate balance, one that you can easily forget after several months of cooler weather. Here are your steps for staying cool now that summer weather is here.
When to Open the Windows
Open your windows in the early morning and late evening (closing them when you're not home or are asleep, of course) to let cooler air in. You can keep them open even as the temperatures rise, though once the air near the windows feels too warm for you, it's time to close the windows. The idea is that the cooler air will seep in and cool down the interior of your home, but when the air outside becomes too hot, you can close the windows to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. If you leave the windows open during the hotter part of the day, all that will do is let warmer air in and heat up your home.
When you come home in the middle of the day, you're place will likely be stuffy; in that case, it's OK to open the windows to get some air circulation. However, once the stuffiness is gone, it's time to close the windows and turn on the air conditioner.
When to Close the Blinds
Any window that has sunlight streaming through it -- and any window where the indirect light seems particularly bright -- needs to have closed blinds. If it's early in the day and you have the window open, lower the blinds and adjust the slats to block light but still allow air in.
If you run any appliance for most of the day, it should be a fan, especially a ceiling fan. This will prevent a lot of stuffiness and make the place seem a little cooler. Remember that ceiling fans have cool- and warm-air settings; in summer, set the switch on the side of the fan so that the blades are rotating in a counterclockwise direction.
Seasonal Fashion Is There for a Reason
One thing that will help you feel cooler no matter the temperature is to dress appropriately. Sweaters and long boots, for example, really aren't appropriate in summer. Even if you have to wear them for work, when you're home, dress in shorts or lightweight pants, short-sleeved shirts, and walk in slippers.
If you're home during the middle of the day, or (as mentioned before) you've come home from work in the middle of the afternoon when the house has been closed up, it's time to turn on the air conditioner. Leaving it off will not help you and could make you more susceptible to heat illness. Bring the temperatures in the house down to at least a basically comfortable level. Also keep the air conditioner on overnight so that you can get a good night's rest.
One other key step is to have your air conditioner inspected yearly, before hot weather starts up. If you forgot to do that this year, it's time to schedule an HVAC services appointment to ensure the rest of the summer is bearable.