This article is sponsored by Dulles Electric
When summer heat makes temperatures spike, many homeowners experience a corresponding rise in their electrical bills. Running an air conditioner almost constantly to counteract the area’s sweltering summer gets expensive.
Instead of paying those exorbitant costs every summer, there are several things homeowners can do to make their houses cooler rather than simply cranking up the air conditioning. As a bonus, these steps offer significant savings on your electrical bill.
Use ceiling fans
Ceiling fans reign supreme when it comes to cooling power. They can lower an electric bill by as much as 40 percent, reports the National Association of Home Builders. “While a ceiling fan doesn’t actually decrease the temperature of a room, the draft makes the room feel cooler – allowing you to raise the thermostat and be just as comfortable.”
Today’s ceiling fans are far different from the big, clunky fans that many people remember from the 1980s or 1990s. They are stylish, efficient and affordable. As a bonus, they can also circulate warm air during winter months. By running the blades clockwise, ceiling fans push warm air down from the ceiling without creating a draft, according to the national home builders group.
Block the sun
Sunlight shining through windows can heat a room like an oven. In an average home, about 30 percent of unwanted heat comes through the windows, explains familyhandyman.com. Putting blinds, insulating curtains or tinted window film on south- and west-facing windows can dramatically reduce the impact of sunlight.
Embrace the night
Take advantage of nighttime breezes and cooling by raising the shades and opening windows to allow the cooler air inside. You can increase the cooling effect by placing a fan in front of an open window to suck cool air into the home. When you wake in the morning, close the windows and pull the shades and curtains to keep the sun out. Even during hot weather, you might be able to delay turning on the air conditioning for several hours.
Avoid your stove and oven
When cooking, try not to use the stove or oven. “Both of these will add unnecessary heat to the house. Instead, fire up that outdoor grill or whip up a salad or sandwich,” suggests Becky Striepe in an article for Care2 Healthy Living. “Your rice cooker, slow cooker, and pressure cooker are other alternatives to heating up the house with the stove or oven.”
Plant some trees
Trees, shrubs and vegetation can help keep your home cooler. The U.S. Department of Energy reports carefully positioned trees reduce the energy use of a typical household by up to 25 percent. Research shows summer daytime air temperatures can be 3-6 degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods than in treeless areas, the department notes. Trees should be situated on the south and west sides of your home for the biggest impact.
Tune up your air conditioning
For those times when it’s so hot you must run your air conditioner, it’s important to make sure it is operating at peak efficiency. Replace the air filter every 3-6 months and make certain there is no debris, trash or vegetation around the outside portion of the unit that could prevent good air circulation. Every two or three years, it is good to have a heating and cooling professional check and service your system.
With a few simple steps like adding modern ceiling fans and keeping sunlight from reaching inside your home, you can keep your home cooler and reduce your energy costs.