It seems like only yesterday the snow was piled knee high in our front yard. Yet, here we are in the midst of our first summer heatwave. Temperatures have been in the high 30°Cs and with the humidex we have reached 40°C – that’s 95°-100°F. There isn’t much relief to be found outside right now. Even in the heat we are looking for eco-friendly, inexpensive and easy ways to keep our house cool. Here are some simple tips for keeping the house cool this summer.
Close the Blinds – What could be easier or less expensive then closing the blinds? What an incredibly huge impact simply shielding the inside of your home from the sun can make. Take a walk around the house and assess the window coverings. Heavy curtains and blinds keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you are out of the house all day, close the blinds and you will come home to a much cooler house. Our front blinds are closed tight in the morning…when the easterly sun is beating down. The afternoon it’s the back of the house that heats up by the westerly sun. Having heavy blinds and curtains has made a remarkable difference.
Use the Exhaust Fan or BBQ – The kitchen exhaust fan is your friend in the summer. With the flip of a switch the fan will suck the heat generated on the stove outside. While the kitchen exhaust fan should be used all year round, it is especially important to use it during the summer. In the winter we will often bake cookies to warm up the house – in the summer it is time to take the cooking outside. On days when it’s just too hot to cook indoors – don’t. Use an outdoor BBQ and take the meal preparations outside, keeping the heat out of the house.
Fan of the Ceiling Fan – Meet another one of our favorite house cooling tools – a ceiling fan. Installing a ceiling fan in bedrooms can have a major impact on a homes comfort level in the summer. Ceiling fans work to keep the air moving – blowing the air around and creating a cooling effect for the people in the room. We have a ceiling fan positioned at the top of our stairs, keeping the air flowing – hot air down and cool air up.
Use a Smart Thermostat – All summer long we can hear the familiar hum of air conditioners running, almost constantly. This constant a/c usage is not only taxing on the energy infrastructure, but it is impacting everyone’s electric bill. Studies have proven that using a programmable thermostat can have a positive (spend less money/use less energy) impact on the cost of heating and cooling a house. By scheduling your thermostat to a daytime, evening and weekend schedule you are able to use your air conditioner more efficiently. As with most things in today’s society, the humble thermostat has gone high tech.
Check Your Filter – We often think about checking our air filters in the winter, but remember to check and clean your filter in the summer too. Yep, if you want your air conditioner to run properly it needs to be maintained properly. Clear any debris (dead leaves and branches) that may be accumulating around your air conditioner too. It’s important that the air conditioner unit be kept clean outside your home.
Put Laundry on Hold – Yep, I’m telling you not to do the laundry. Well, not during the day. Run the washing machine, the dishwasher and the dryer in the evening. Put that clothesline and clothes pegs to good use and give your dryer a rest for the summer. Run the dishwasher when everyone isn’t busy in the kitchen. Dishwasher’s give off a lot of excess heat.
Big Picture Ideas – Okay, here are a few “big picture” tips. Plant trees on your property that will help shade your home and your outdoor spaces. When you replace your roof, consider using a lighter colored shingle – light colors reflect the heat, while dark color absorb and hold the heat. If you’re replacing your windows, opt for insulated glass that will help keep the heat out in the summer and keep the heat inside in the winter. These long-term ideas take some planning, but will have a huge impact on keeping your home cool in the summer.
There are many ways to keep your home cool in this summer. Some are low tech and some use cutting edge technology. Do you have any tips to share? How do you keep your home cool?