Tuesday, May 26, 2015

15 Fabulous Ways to Stay Cool This Summer


It seemed like we went right from winter to summer. We have seen high temperatures this spring season and the summer hasn't even arrived yet. Summer officially starts June 21, 2015. Many people become dehydrated and overheated due to lack of air-conditioning in their homes and the hot temperatures and the high heat indexes. It’s no fun being hot.

Many homeowners incur lots of money during the summer to keep their homes cool.  Refrigerators and air conditioners are the largest consumers of energy. Air conditioning contributes to approximately 16% of the average household’s annual electricity bill. The amount of air conditioning you use depends on where you live and how many days a year you need to use your air conditioner.  The average costs spent on an air conditioning per year is $2,643 and the average home air-conditioning unit costs $280 per year. 

There are several alternatives to using air conditioning such as whole-house fans and evaporative coolers; however, they do not perform well in all climates. If you live in a state that has a lot of humidity, evaporative coolers are not a good option. If you don't have an attic a whole-house fan is a good option. If you have a hot attic an evaporative coolers is a good option.

Saving on air conditioning costs can also help the environment.  Cutting back on your air conditioning reduces your CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by 5.4 lbs a week. The more electricity you use, the more carbon dioxide gets released into Earth’s atmosphere. An average household central air conditioner uses enough electricity each year to release of over 2 tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) into the air.  Here are 15 tips to stay cool this summer.

  1. Turn up the thermostat.  Each degree higher you turn up your thermostat allows it to use 1-3% less electricity. Set your thermostat at 76 or 78 degrees F during the day.

  1. Turn it off.  If you aren’t home during the day turn the air conditioner off. Program the thermostat to turn the air conditioner on an hour before you get home.
  2. Room a/c.  Turn the room air conditioner to a warmer/cooler setting during the day when you are not at home.  Put room air conditioners in windows that are facing north or that are in the shade. A room air conditioner that sits in direct sunlight uses 5% more electricity.
  3. Clean.  Clean or replace your air conditioner’s air filter every month when it’s in use. The harder the air conditioner has to work pulling air through the filter, the longer it runs and the more electricity it uses.
  4. Usage. If the temperatures outside is cool at night turn your air conditioner off and open the windows or turn it down to a lower setting.
  5. Fans. A ceiling fan provides added air circulation and can help keep your air conditioner set at higher temperatures. Make sure the ceiling fan is reversible and that it blows air down in the summer. Window fans and floor fans can provide cooling by getting the air moving or by helping move cooler outside air into the house at night.
7.  Solar window film. Replace plastic window film with solar window film to help keep your home cooler by reducing utility costs.  The film prevents the sun’s rays from entering your home and reduces the need for air conditioning.   
  1. Electrical Devices.  Don't place lamps, televisions or computers near your thermostat.  The thermostat can sense the heating coming from the appliances and will run longer than necessary.
  2. Lights.  Don't turn lights on if your home gets natural sunlight.  Keeping lights off keeps your home cool.  Turn lights on only when necessary.
  3. Insulate.  Seal any cracks or leaks around and inside your home and insulate your attic floor.  Install storm windows to save on energy costs.
  4. Fresh air.  If you live in an area where it is hot during the day and cool at night, turn off the air conditioner and open the windows to get fresh cool air. In the morning close the windows and blinds to retain the cool air.
  5. Cover windows.  Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through windows.
  6. Ventilation.  Make sure you home is well ventilated.  Make sure bathrooms and the kitchen have vents that lead outside.
  7. Maintenance.  Perform regular maintenance or air conditioning, heat pumps or other cooling devices.
  8. Install a metal roof. Aluminum reflects sunlight. Metal reflects up to 70% of the sun’s radiation and loses its heat easily which helps keep the roof cool.

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