When the summer heat creeps in, you want to do whatever it takes to escape it. If keeping your home cool is your priority, we’re on your side.
Cooling your home down quickly is a battle against the laws of physics and thermodynamics, explains Mike Lemble of Aeroseal, a duct and airtight sealing company. Even those with central air conditioning should consider ways to keep the heat out.
With regular maintenance and strategic planning, you can cool a space quickly and efficiently. Here’s how.
Block out the light with blackout curtains
Long days with continuous daylight until the evening hours are among the most beautiful aspects of summer. However, you want to enjoy that extra light outside of your home. When the summer sun shines through your windows, it really heats up your home.
To keep things cool, check out blackout curtains. Blocking your windows with blackout curtains during peak sunlight hours will keep the light out to avoid rising temperatures. Lemble says drawing the curtains can keep your home about 20 degrees cooler in the summer months.
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Open the doors to let the air flow
While you want to keep heat out, you also want to let it out. Even if you do everything you can to keep your home cool, you may have some unknowing culprits creating heat in your home that needs to be vented.
Lemble points out that running your oven and stovetop generates heat that prevents your room from cooling down. Other electronic devices like your TV and WiFi router can also give off heat, creating a hot and stuffy environment. Opening the doors allows air to flow through to remove the stale air and cool things down.
If you want to increase airflow with the doors open, create a cross breeze with box fans. Bring two box fans, one with the fan facing out and the other with the fan facing your home. This allows the air to circulate faster.
Get the Hurricane Box Fan at Amazon for $31
Keep the air moving with fans
Speaking of fans, they are a key factor in keeping your home cool.
If you have an HVAC system that puts the air conditioner on a timer to run when you’re home but doesn’t waste electricity when you’re not, consider leaving the fan on at all times. According to Lemble, keeping the fan on circulates the air to regulate the temperature without the need for the air conditioning to be on all the time.
Lemble estimates that it will cost the average homeowner between $1 and $2 a day to keep your HVAC fans running all the time. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the increased cost of quickly cooling your home.
Do you have a ceiling fan? Check these out too. In winter, set the fan to rotate clockwise. This movement lifts warm air and circulates it around the room. In the summer, change the direction of your fan so it rotates counter-clockwise to create a cool breeze.
Most ceiling fans have a switch that changes the direction of the blades.
Honeywell Ceiling Fan 50614-01 Carnegie at Amazon for $120
Find out about the intelligence behind your HVAC system
While you may have redesigned your HVAC system, did you keep the old thermostat that came with the house? If so, Lemble says it might not meet the requirements.
“[The thermostat is] the brain to the heart of the HVAC system, and the ducts are the lungs. If the thermostat isn’t working properly, your HVAC system can’t function properly,” says Lemble.
Upgrading to a smart thermostat not only improves your home’s technology, but also increases the efficiency of your HVAC system.
The Nest Learning Thermostat (third generation) is one of the best as it can learn your temperature preferences and create schedules based on your habits, completely automating your hot and cold airflow. Some smart thermostats, like Nest’s, can alert you to problems within the system so you can fix the problem before the HVAC breaks, and feature geofencing technology that automatically adjusts the thermostat to your desired settings based on your location.
Once you know your thermostat is working, keep it at a consistent temperature throughout the day.
Get the Nest Learning Thermostat on Amazon for $228
Carry out regular maintenance
When a heat wave hits, you don’t want to worry about keeping it cool.
Whether you have a window, portable, or central air conditioner, you should clean the filter every month or two. Lemble says when filters become encrusted with dirt, it reduces their effectiveness, making your home slow to cool. (You may need to clean your filter more frequently if you have pets in the household or have allergies.)
For those with central air conditioning, clean your condenser unit that is outside of the home. Lemble explains that your air conditioner’s condenser pulls air out of your house to cool it, but it also collects all the dust and dirt from your house.
Cleaning your condenser is as easy as rinsing it off with a garden hose. This is definitely a task that you can do while tending to your garden.
Get your air conditioner running efficiently
Air ducts with holes and leaks can allow up to 30% of your cold air to escape. In turn, your HVAC system is working harder than it should to cool your home.
“These leaks cause uneven temperatures in your home, excessive dust, and even trigger allergies,” says Lemble. If you find you need to crank up the air conditioning to completely cool a room, it’s time to check your ducts.
By hiring a professional to examine your system, you can ensure that your home’s system is working to its full potential.
Also, take a look at the seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) of your air conditioner, says Lemble. The average rating for most units is 16, but high-efficiency models are typically 23. The higher the rating, the faster the air conditioner cools your home. Besides, it can save you money.
If you find that your air conditioner model has a rating below 13, it’s time to upgrade to a more efficient system – and you might even be eligible for a tax credit if you do so.
Get the GE Profile Ultra Quiet Window Air Conditioner at Amazon for $349
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