Summer is in full swing and we’re seeing some of the hottest temperatures on record this summer. That means more and more homeowners are cranking up their air conditioning units to keep their homes comfortable.
But if you don’t have an energy efficient water to air heat pump or air source heat pump to keep you cool, turning on your air conditioning unit will significantly add to your utility bill. Fortunately, there are several ways you can stay cool this summer without breaking the bank – even if you don’t have an energy efficient heat pump.
To make this list easier to digest, we’ve divided our suggestions into tactics you can employ today, and tactics that are a little more expensive but will go a long way towards the long-term comfort and energy efficiency of your home.
Quick Ways to Stay Cool this Summer
Close Your Curtains During the Day
Windows are a major source of heat seeping into your home during the summer. In fact, some estimates hold windows and doors responsible for up to 30% of unwanted heat transfer in and out of your home. To keep heat out of your home during the summer, make sure to close your blinds during the day.
Open Your Curtains and Windows at Night
Conversely, whenever the temperature outside is cooler than inside, you should be sure to open your blinds and windows to get this cool air flowing through your home. If you can, spend the whole night with your windows open – just be sure to shut them again and close the blinds before you leave for work in the morning.
Switch to Satin Sheets
While flannel sheets and a duvet can be a great way to trap heat in your bed during cold months, swapping to a fabric that won’t trap heat will keep you comfortable in the summer time. Our favourites are satin or simple cotton. Also, ditch the duvet and opt for a light quilt – or no blanket at all.
Use Fans to Promote Air Flow
When air moves across our skin, it takes a tiny bit of heat with it. If your skin is wet, the air will take even more heat. That’s why dogs pant to cool down, their heavy breathing forces air to move over their wet tongues, taking the heat out of their bodies.
The same principle applies to air moved around by fans. Instead of cooling your home down with an air conditioner, use a fan to increase the airflow around you, which will cool you off.
Use Bathroom and Kitchen Fans to Vent Heated Air
After you take a shower or cook a meal, turn on your bathroom or kitchen vents to remove the heated air from your home. Or…
Move Heat Producing Activities Outside
Instead of cooking inside, which generates heat (which exactly what you don’t want in your home), fire up your outdoor grill. Cooking a meal outside in the afternoon will remove a major source of heat in your home.
In addition, consider drying your clothing on a clothesline. You’ll consume less electricity and generate less heat inside.
Long-Term Tactics to Stay Cool in Summer
Upgrade Windows and Doors
As I mentioned above, windows and doors and are huge sources of unwanted heat in the summer time. To reduce the amount of heat transfer coming from your windows and doors, upgrade your windows to energy efficient models. You’ll be much more comfortable both in the summer and winter, and you’ll save up to 15% on your utilities bills.
In the same vein, upgrading insulation will dramatically reduce the amount of heat that infiltrates your home in the summer, and the amount of heat that escapes during the winter. Most older homes are inadequately insulated, and upgrading your insulation will save you 10 – 30% on your home heating bills, depending on the current levels of insulation already in your home.
Caulk Windows, Weatherstrip Doors
Caulking windows and adding weatherstripping to your doors will also slow air leaks and keep your home cooler in the summer. This inexpensive project costs about $1 per window and $20 per door.
Plant A Tree
It’s always cooler in the shade, right? That’s why planting shade trees in your backyard to help shade part or all of your roof is a great way to keep your home cool during the summer. If you live in a climate with a significant heating season, make sure to plant a deciduous tree that will lose its leaves in the fall and allow sunlight to hit your roof, keeping you warm in the winter.
Staying cool in the summertime is all about how energy efficient your home is. The more energy efficient it is, the less money you’ll have to spend keeping your home cool. Ideally, you would install an energy efficient water to air heat pump or air source heat pump for the best results, but if that kind of up front cost isn’t an option for you right now, the tips above will provide an excellent starting point for a cooler, more comfortable summer.
Interested in upgrading to an energy efficient heat pump? Find a Nordic Dealer near you for your free estimate.
Photo Credit: Anna Demianenko