During the hot summer months, it is very tempting to keep the air con on all the time. But that will not be good for your wallet, or for the environment. Cranking up the AC is not the only way to keep cool. As the mercury rises, take the following proactive measures to slash your cooling bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Shut out the sun.
Up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows. Keep the hot air and the sun’s rays out by keeping your windows, blinds, curtains or drapes drawn and closed during the hot summer days. Doing this can lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 percent and save you up to 7 percent on bills.
2. Get heat blocking curtains
Consider investing in medium colored or heat-blocking curtains. They are specifically designed to reflect heat, and act as a natural insulator for the room in which they are installed. Consumer reports recommends neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backings to reduce heat gain by up to 33%.
3. Sleep alone.
You may hate sleeping alone, but sleeping in a separate bed when its really hot can actually lead to better sleep for you an your partner. Cuddling in bed increases body heat, making the bed hot and sticky. By sleeping alone, you don’t have to endure extra body heat, and you can both sleep cooler.
4. Unplug your electronics.
Be sure to turn off all the electronics you aren’t using during the day to avoid heat build-up. When plugged in, devices like chargers, phones and computers radiate heat, which will make it harder to fall asleep. Even electrical sockets give off heat when devices are plugged in to them, so unplug all unnecessary devices before going into bed. Unplugging unused devices is also an effective way to make your home more eco-friendly.
5. Freeze your hot water bottle.
Hot water bottles are traditionally meant to keep you warm. However, they can also keep you cool on hot summer nights. Simply fill up the bottle with cold water and place it in the freezer for a few hours before placing it under the covers for 5-10 minutes before you go to bed. They won’t keep you cool all night, but they provide some temporary relief.
6. Switch to cooling bed sheets.
Breathable and lightweight fabrics like bamboo, linen or cotton are the best types of sheets to use during the hot summer. They are excellent for promoting ventilation in the bedroom and will stay crisp and keep you cool all night. As a bonus, get yourself a cooling pillow such as a buckwheat pillow. They are one of the most breathable pillows you can get.
7.Freeze your sheets.
Put your sheets into a plastic, sealed bag and keep them in the freezer for 5-6 minutes before bedtime. This may not keep you cool all night, but it will provide a welcome respite from the heat. You can do the same with your pillowcase.
8. Tint your windows.
Many tinted window films can now block almost 99 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Tinted or low-E window films are inexpensive and super easy to install. Tinting your windows can help reduce heat gain during the summer and help protect your curtains, furniture and even flooring from the harmful effects of the sun.
9. Use your appliances in the early morning hours or in the evening.
Using appliances such as your oven, stove, washing machine or dishwasher during the day when it is hot will heat the house up. This means your air conditioner will have to work harder and use a lot more energy to cool the house down. The best time to use these appliances is early in the morning or late at night.
10. Use as much sunlight as possible.
Use as much natural light as you possibly can in the summer. Light bulbs, even energy efficient ones like LEDs, radiate heat which builds up in your rooms and can be very difficult to expel without air conditioning.
11. Plant a tree in your backyard
Planting a tree in your backyard can help cut energy costs by providing shade from the hot summer sun to help keep your home cooler. This can help to reduce your air conditioning bills during the summer and minimize the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
12. Use an attic fan.
An attic fan can keep your home 10 degrees cooler. It works by cooling down the attic in your home and flushing out all of the hot air that will rise to the top of the house. Heat rises up naturally, and hot air tends to accumulate in the attic. Using an attic fan to cool down your home can significantly reduce your energy costs and costs around 5 cents per hour to operate.
13. Build a DIY air conditioner.
To make some huge savings, you can simply build a cheap, homemade air conditioner using the following:
- Half a cup of table salt
- A standing fan
- 3 water bottles
Building a DIY Air Conditioner
- Put 3 tablespoons of salt into each water bottle.
- Shake each bottle to thoroughly mix the salt.
- Freeze the bottles. The salt will lower the freezing temperature and make the ice cooler.
- Set the bottles on a table at least 6 inches in front of your fan. Don’t use the oscillating setting on the fan. Keep the fan pointed at the water bottles.
- You now have a homemade air conditioner. Keep replacement water bottles in the freezer so that you can simply swap them out when they melt.
14. Install oscillating fans.
Oscillating fans can help you keep cool in the summer so you don’t have to keep using expensive air conditioning. Here’s how to keep your house cool in the summer without AC.