As August creeps up on us and the summer heat wave continues, we’re constantly thinking of new ways to cool down our homes.
Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature is more than simply cranking the A/C to 60 degrees. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend that — as a general rule, your home’s HVAC system is designed to keep the interior temperature at 20 degrees below the exterior temperature. On a 95-degree day, even if the thermostat is set to 60 degrees, the home interior won’t reach much below 75 degrees.
Follow these 12 steps to keep your home (and yourself) cool this summer.
- Use fans to circulate air. This one seems obvious, but did you know there are ways to properly use fans? Running ceiling fans in a counter-clockwise direction will pull hot air up and out, rather than pushing the hot air around the room. Point box fans out open windows so they push hot air outside, as well.
- Run the furnace fan continuously. This will help to evenly disperse cool air throughout the home.
- Close window blinds and curtains during the hottest part of the day. If you’re at work all day, make this part of your morning routine, especially in rooms that face west. Keeping blinds and curtains closed will keep the sun’s heat from pouring in through the windows.
- Keep the warm air out and cool air in. Check the weather-stripping on all doors and window seals. Weather-stripping can change as weather and seasons change, so you may need to make some adjustments as you see fit.
- Avoid using the oven and stove, when possible. Use summer as an opportunity to eat fresh meals (and try out some awesome salad recipes) or grill outside. If you have to cook inside, cover pots to minimize humidity and use the range hood or microwave vent to circulate hot air.
- Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use. Even when your computer and TV aren’t being used, they still generate a bit of heat when sitting idle or even when turned off. Unplug them to both save energy and reduce heat in the home.
- Change the A/C filter every month. This will allow air to flow easily through your HVAC system, which means the system will run more efficiently and use less energy.
- Save chores for the evening. Large appliances – dishwasher, washer, and dryer – generate heat and humidity. Save these chores for the cooler evenings, rather than tackling them in the heat of the day.
- Take cold showers. You’re hot already – why make yourself even hotter by steaming up the bathroom with a hot shower? Take cooler showers and run the bath fan during and after bathing to remove excess heat and humidity from the bathroom.
- Take advantage of cool nights! Open the windows and let in the night breeze! Don’t forget to close the windows, shut the blinds, and turn back on the A/C before it gets too hot in the morning.
- Dehumidify the basement. This may not have a big effect on the overall temperature of your home, but with this season’s heat comes excess humidity, which can lead to moisture on windows and damp or musty basements. Use a dehumidifier in your basement to get rid of that extra humidity.
- Adjust the dampers on your HVAC line. This will allow more airflow to desired locations, such as the second floor of the home. Closing the basement vents in the summer months will have this same effect — the basement is already the coldest part of the home, so closing the vents will direct that air to other areas of the home.
What other home cooling tips do you have? Leave them in the comments!