Already dreading the summer A/C bill? The good news is that there are easy ways to keep the house cool without shelling out big bucks for the electricity. An air conditioner is a great thing, but it should be used sparingly. Not only is it expensive, it can also annoy those with allergies and it's not nearly as good as breathing in clean, natural air.
However, keeping cool will also take some effort and ambition to make it work. It should be a family affair, so make sure everyone--including the kids--is on board. Otherwise, one bill-minded person will be stuck doing the brunt of the work. Here are 5 of the easiest ways to keep a house cool during the sizzling summer months.
1. Take Advantage of Air Flow
A well-designed home has windows and doors that maximize air flow and breezes. Prop open windows, invest in some screens to keep insects out and take full advantage of natural air flow. Depending on home design and the heat, this might be all a person really needs to keep cool. Plus, the benefits of the fresh air help people feel rejuvenated.
2. Balance Natural Light With Shade
Too much shade, such as using heavy dark curtains, can turn a home into a heat box. Unfortunately, too much sunshine can do the exact same thing. Opt for white or light colored blinds or breezy curtains to maximize the good parts of shade. Don't go for a blackout approach--this will turn a home into a sauna. Instead, shop around and look for blinds that will filter light properly, and be sure to open and close them as the sun shifts during the day.
3. Close off Unused Rooms
If AC is simply a must, close off all rooms that aren't being used and put towels against the floorboard to keep the cool air in. It's much more cost effective to cool one or two rooms than an entire house. Also remember that heat rises, so ACs will have to work extra hard to cool those rooms upstairs. Think of it as a treat, not a 24/7 luxury.
4. Keep Vents Cleared
Again, if AC is being used, make sure the system doesn't have to work very hard. Vents that are covered with furniture, curtains, throw rugs or anything else aren't doing bank accounts any favors. The system will be working overtime to cool behind the couch and no one is reaping the benefits.
5. Avoid Cooking
Baking and oven-top cooking can quickly make a warm home a furnace. Depend on cool meals to help stay a little more chill and avoid unnecessarily heating the home. Fresh salads, fruits, veggies or even microwaved food are better options, especially in smaller homes. It's time to start getting creative with the meal planning and choose cool summer treats.
Staying cool in the summer can be a challenge, so make the most of it. Dressing for the occasion, taking room temperature showers and indulging in a little extra ice water can help the summer start off smashingly.