This is how you can keep your home cool and keep your energy bills low!
All photos by: Unsplash
Have you ever wondered why we call the hottest days of the year "dog days"? Many people think it's because the weather isn't suitable for a dog, or because it's so steamy that dogs can't do anything but lie around and gasp, or that the extreme temperatures cause dogs to go crazy . However, this phrase, first translated from Latin to English about 500 years ago, actually refers to the position of the earth relative to the summer sky. During this time, the star named Sirius – also known as the Dog Star – rises and falls at the same time as the Sun.
It has nothing to do with heat, and in fact, astronomers say that dog days are constantly, albeit incrementally, changing due to the way the earth rotates relative to the sky. In 13,000 years, the dog days will actually take place in the middle of winter. Regardless of where the stars are, those of us who July andare are indeed scorchers must find ways to cool off. At the same time, we don't want to spend astronomical energy costs running the air conditioning system all day long. Read on for some tips on how to stay cool and keep your expenses down!
1. Make sure your air conditioner is running efficiently
The central air conditioning is a marvel of modern comfort. It doesn't feel much better than walking into a wonderfully cool house after spending time outdoors in 90 ° weather. However, to maximize the performance and life of your air conditioner, a little maintenance is required. Check filters and other items regularly. A dirty filter will make your device work harder. So if you keep the temperature low, there will be higher energy costs. The same goes for window units or portable air conditioners. Keep them in tip-top shape so you can stay cool. If possible, invest in EnergyStar devices. On average, they offer around 20% more energy efficiency than older, outdated models.
2. Program them – even remotely
Many HVAC systems already have programming capabilities. Programmable auxiliary thermostats are relatively inexpensive and you can quickly amortize their costs through energy savings. Or check out smart home systems that allow you to turn on the air conditioning shortly before you arrive at home – or turn off the device if you are unexpectedly late. Heating and cooling experts also recommend that the temperatures are just cool enough for your family to feel comfortable. While keeping your house like a meat closet is certainly your prerogative, you will pay for it through your nose.
3. Use your Windows
Do you live in a climate where there are dramatic fluctuations between cool night temperatures and hot day temperatures? If so, turn off the air conditioning and open the windows. This allows hot air to escape and cool breezes to penetrate. When the sun is shining on your house during the day, keep your blinds or curtains firmly closed. Better yet, hang blackout curtains. Not only do they prevent heat and light from entering, but they also muffle the noise of a noisy neighborhood right outside your door. You can't stop the rays of the sun from shining on your home, but you can make sure they don't get in through the windows.
4. If you are a homeowner, think ahead
Plant trees on the south and west sides of the house. They won't help you feel cooler this summer, or even next summer, but over time, as shade trees grow, they can make a huge difference in how hot your house gets. Planting a shade tree near the AC unit can be particularly effective in making the system work more efficiently. Just make sure it's not too close and regularly remove any fallen leaves or debris.
5. Start the fan
Just because you can cool your home with the push of a button doesn't mean it doesn't need fans. Using fans in conjunction with central air starts cooling performance and energy saving. Position the fan so that it is directly in front of or under a ventilation opening so that the cool air can be pushed further into the room and throughout the house. If it's cool enough to just use the fan, do this. Many homeowners believe that using the AC power briefly and then switching it to a fan to circulate is just as effective as running the AC power continuously.
6. Yes, you can be comfortable and not break the bank
No need to turn the air conditioner all the way up (or would that be down?) To relax and enjoy dog days, or anytime during the summer. If you have a few clever tricks up your sleeve, you can make sure your energy bills are as low as possible.
What are some of your favorite ways to stay cool as the temperature rises? Do you use fans with AC? Any advice for people who don't have central air? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!