It’s the heart of summer and tempting to regularly flip on the air conditioner in order to beat the heat. Or take ridiculously long inventories of what’s in the refrigerator with the door wide open blasting cold air. (You wouldn’t, we know!) Creative, low-cost, low-carbon solutions can hold the heat at bay in yo in your home. Keep cool while you keep your peace of mind.
Ten energy-saving tips to beat the heat:
1. Leave your Indow Windows in during the day to block the heat and then simply pop them out at night to allow the cool air to circulate through. Try pointing a big fan so it blows hot air out one window (preferably on the north or shady side of your house) and draws the cool night air in through other open windows on the opposite side of the house. Be sure to press the Indow Windows back in place when you wake up to keep that cool night air inside.
2. In addition to shutting your windows, close the shades and blinds to keep the heat out. Window coverings light in color reflect heat away from your house.*
3. Since home appliances, electronics and standard light bulbs create heat when they’re on, be sure to switch them off. So don’t turn on that oven: cook outside on the grill or use the microwave.*
4. Seal air leaks by caulking or weatherstripping around leaky doors and windows. Also plug holes or cracks in basement or crawl spaces.*
5. After you’ve sealed air leaks, add insulation (leaks weaken the effectiveness of insulation.)*
6. Check for any leaks, holes or broken or damaged connections in any forced-air heating and cooling system you have since these problems can cause as much as 20 percent of cool air to escape.*
7. Ensure your attic is well ventilated. Good venting that’s both low and high allows hot air to escape, keeping your home cooler and reducing the need for an air conditioner.*
8. Service your cooling equipment each year to keep it running efficiently.*
9. If you do use an air conditioner, a ceiling fan can help keep cooling costs down. Raising the thermostat by just two degrees and using a ceiling fan can lower cooling costs by up to 14 percent.*
10. Keep electronics and lamps with incandescent bulbs away from the thermostat. Their heat can cause the air conditioner to work harder than it has to.*
(* Source: Energy Trust of Oregon.)