Summertime is here, and you’re ready for sun and fun. Wait — was that an audible groan from the “Great, here comes the insane AC bills” crowd? It’s not amusing when you see your utility bills creep upward, and all that energy use doesn’t do the planet any favors.
What are some Eco-friendly ways you can keep your home cool this summer? Here are ten ideas that will help you save money and the planet without getting too steamy.
Eco-Friendly Ways to Keep Your Home Cool
Install Ceiling Fans
Have you ever uttered an audible “ahh” when the breeze picks up on a sultry summer day? Everyone has. Ceiling fans keep the air circulating in your home if you get the right variety.
In general, the bigger, the better when it comes to blades. That’s because these devices only work if you can feel the air on your skin. Otherwise, the motor heats the room a negligible amount.
Hang Blackout Curtains
If you’ve returned to working outside the home, sunlight streams through uncovered windows all day. This solar heat makes your air conditioner run double duty to keep your pet goldfish comfortable. Buy blackout curtains for the windows that receive the most sunlight and close them before you leave each morning to save money and the planet.
Apply Reflective Film
Maybe you plan to continue working from home, and you don’t want your office to resemble a cave. Reflective window tinting lets you see out while preventing miscreants from viewing your home’s interior — meaning they can’t case your joint to scope out your new cache of equipment. As a bonus, this substance helps prevent fading and sun damage to furniture, fabrics and flooring.
Go for Awnings
If you have windows that receive full sun for most of the day, even the best protective coatings won’t mitigate the entire solar effect. However, you can install awnings over these windows to cut down on the glare. Another option? You can build that wraparound porch of your dreams and include a roof that keeps the glass shaded.
Plant Some Shade
Another way to cool your home naturally is to plant bushes or trees for shades, but you must do so strategically. Safety experts recommend keeping shrubbery near your home trimmed to no higher than two to three feet to deter thieves who seek cover to break-in. You can plant shade trees, but cut the bottom seven feet of branches as they grow to keep miscreants from climbing to a second-story window.
Insulate Your Attic
Attics are known for getting hot— heat rises, after all. Temperatures are considered dangerous, though, once they rise above 90 degrees. It is very likely that on a hot day, your attic will be 90 degrees or higher, so installing insulation in your attic can help make your attic safer to enter. Insulation keeps out excess heat, as well as cold. It costs relatively little to install, plus, you’ll also save money on your winter heating bills. Talk about a win-win.
Close Windows During the Day
Maybe you think, “If I leave the windows open, the breeze will blow through. On temperate days with low humidity, this trick works. However, if you live in a humid area or the thermometer tops 90 degrees, you are letting all that ickiness in, which then taxes your AC unit when you get home. Instead, keep your windows closed, as it will keep the inside of your home somewhat temperate like a cave.
Running the oven and even using the stove can heat your kitchen quickly. If you have a smaller apartment, it could raise the temperature of your indoors significantly. Since summer is the grilling season, take your cooking outside. You don’t have to eat a burger if you’re a vegan — you can make a grilled romaine salad with the help of propane.
Dehumidify the Air
If you live in a coastal region, you know the meaning of the saying, “It’s not the heat — it’s the humidity.” A dehumidifier sucks excess water out of the air, making you feel several degrees cooler. As a bonus, these devices help to combat mold and mildew growth making this one of the most effective Eco-friendly ways to keep your home cool.
Add a Gentle Mist
On the other hand, if you live in the desert southwest, you see mister systems on outdoor patios everywhere for a good reason. When the outdoor air is plain old hot, water does the trick to cool you. Installing such a system on your patio can make barbecues much more comfortable. For indoor use, a small aromatherapy diffuser can provide a refreshing mist.
Keep Your Home Cool the Eco-Friendly Way This Summer
If you want to keep your home cool without running up giant energy bills and destroying the planet, look no further than these ten tips. You’ll breeze through your summer while barely breaking a sweat.