It's going to be a hot one, folks. During the summer, you can almost feel the heat glaring at you through every window, even if your thermostat is cranked lower than a penguin habitat. But all that A/C blasting is not so great for the environment or your wallet. Thankfully, there are ways to cool down your house for cheap so you and your loved ones can get through this summer in peace.
If this summer feels even hotter than normal recently, you're not just imagining things. According to AccuWeather, there is a currently a dangerous heat wave that can push temperatures above 100 degrees F in most parts of the eastern United States. Even if this particular heat wave won't affect your part of the country, chances are this summer has been a brutal one.
But if you want to save money while keeping your cool, you are not alone. A quick Google search for lower cooling costs in the summer yields about 18,600,000 results. For many people, those sky-high energy bills are just as obnoxious as the heat. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your house cool without breaking the bank. Some tips are as easy as flipping a switch, while others involve some minor home renovations that will help you save bank in the long run. At least a few of these ideas can help you find some relief until those autumn days finally arrive.
1. Turn On The Fans
It may be an obvious solution, but it certainly works. According to the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse, using ceiling fans can help you raise the thermostat approximately four degrees while maintaining the same comfort level. Even a small circulating fan on your desk can help you stay a little more cool.
2. Hang Light-Blocking Curtains
Sure, those sheer lacy curtains are gorgeous, but they won't help you block much heat. As explained in Consumer Reports, using draperies with white-plastic backings may help you reduce your home's heat by 33 percent. Try to keep them closed during the hottest parts of the day, especially for windows that get direct sunlight.
3. Sleep Under Breathable Sheets
It's one thing to be uncomfortably hot during the day, but feeling overheated when you're trying to sleep is the worst. As explained in Refinery 29, breathable linen sheets can make your sleep that much more peaceful and cool. Other natural fibers such as cotton or bamboo are a good choice, too.
4. Opt For Chill Meals
Firing up the oven will only send your room temperatures through the roof. Opt for salads and sandwiches instead, or cook in a microwave or crock pot — these devices can heat up your meals without baking your living space, too.
5. Use Your Bathroom Fans
Anything that pulls the hot air our of your apartment is a good thing. Follow this advice from the Huffington Post and run your bathroom fans (and even kitchen exhaust) to keep that hot, humid air moving out. It's easy as flipping a switch.
6. Flip Off The Lights
Did you know that light bulbs emit heat? According to Greatist, taking advantage of natural light, and using your light bulbs only on occasion, can help your home maintain its chill. Bonus: it's kinder to the environment, too.
7. Maintain Your A/C Unit
Keeping your A/C in tip-top shape can help it work more efficiently. As explained in Real Simple, changing your A/C's filters about once a month and making sure your ducts don't have any leaks can make for more effective cooling. A little forethought can help you keep your cool.
8. Shut Down Appliances
Sure, you know to keep the stove off during the daylight hours. But shutting down your TV and computer when they're not in use is good practice as well, and it may help reduce your overall heat generation, as explained in House Logic. In fact, any appliance that generates a lot of heat — dryer, I'm looking at you — can benefit from some downtime.
9. Plant Shady Trees
OK, so this is more of a long-term solution and it will not apply to everyone. But if you're able to plant shade-giving trees, it really can save you on air conditioning costs in the summer. Take things to the next level by following advice from the Arbor Day Foundation and planting trees to shade your air conditioner. This can help the unit stay cool and run more effectively, as the foundation's site further explained.
10. Use Shutters Or Blinds
Blocking the heat before it invades your space is the best practice overall. According to Tree Hugger, shutters are an often-overlooked solution: they provide shade, ventilation, and even storm protection. If shutters aren't a convenient choice, consider some heavy-duty blinds instead.
11. Caulk It Up
Properly weatherproofing your house can help keep the heat out. As explained by the U.S. Department of Energy, caulking cracks around your windows and doors can save you some cooling costs, and prevent that heat from leaking into your home. Don't let the DIY aspect of this project intimidate you: Apartment Therapy has an easy tutorial about getting your caulk on.
12. Use Towels In Windows
If you're looking for a super-cheap, temporary way to beat the heat, bust out some old towels. As explained in This Hill Is Home, hanging white towels over your curtain rods will help keep the heat out. Plus, they're easy to take down and wash anytime.
13. Insulate Well
If you're looking for long-term cooling solutions, make sure your attic is well insulated. As explained in Good Housekeeping, proper attic insulation can prevent the cooler air from escaping through your home's ceiling. It may even help you save cooling costs in the long term. Because staying cool and saving some cash can make your summer much more comfortable for years to come.