Save Money and Stay Cool in the Extreme Heat

Planning & Saving
on July 11, 2012

Staying cool during the summer’s extreme heat requires innovative, affordable approaches. Home and apartment residents can rely on a number of tips that are free and reduce the need for air conditioning. Keeping blinds or curtains drawn is one effective way to ensure homes are as comfortable as possible. Unplugging electronics, chargers and other items that are not in use is another free way to reduce electric costs and maintain comfort. These are all free ways to save money on cooling costs. Here are some of the best ways to stay cool on the cheap.

1. Shade windows: During the summer, the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The direct angle of the rays is one of the reasons why summers are extremely hot. Keeping the sun’s rays out of the home is one thing that will make a huge difference in cooling costs. Homeowners can also install window tint on the exterior windows. Rooms that are subject to direct sunlight should be shaded first. Indoor temperatures can easily rise by as much as 10 degrees during the summer. Shading windows during the day reduces ambient warming and is a free way to save on cooling costs.

2. Unplugging appliances: When an appliance plugged into an outlet, electrical current is flowing. The electric leads to minor heat gains that can quickly compound. Plugged in appliances also use electric and are a waste of energy. Cell phone chargers, microwaves, conventional ovens and other home appliances are easy to unplug after use.

3. Locating air conditioners in the shade: Most homes rely on central air conditioners, and today’s units are more cost-effective than ever. There are several considerations that influence the efficiency of central units. Installing central air conditioners in the shade is a great way to reduce cooling costs and ensure adequate demand of cold air during the heat of summer.

4. Programmable thermostats: Programming a thermostat to allow temperatures to rise during the day is another way to stay cool for cheap. Letting the temperature rise by five degrees can save up to 12 percent on home cooling costs. Because most homes are vacant during business hours, the effects are not felt. The thermostat can easily be programmed to cool the home an hour or so before residents return for the evening.

5. Changing air filters. Most central air conditioners have air handlers that clean the air before it circulates through the home. The units rely on some type of filter to remove dirt, debris and allergens from indoor air. Checking the filters on a regular basis is the ideal approach and improves the overall efficiency of the system. Some filters should be replaced on a monthly basis, and checking their condition requires little time, effort and money. Filters that have an abundance of dirt or dust should be cleaned or replaced.

6. Opening windows during the evening: During the summer, temperatures drop by several degrees during the evening. Outdoor air may be cooler than interior air during summer nights, and opening windows is a free way to cool down. Using fans in the windows improves air circulation and cuts down on the amount of electricity that is required to run a central air conditioner. In addition, most homes have an issue with indoor air quality. Interior air is often dirtier than what is outdoors. Letting fresh air into the home reduces the interior temperature and improves the overall quality of indoor air.

7. Ceiling fans: Cold air is heavier than hot air and has a tendency to remain close to the floors of a home or apartment. Ceiling fans come in numerous designs and help circulate the cold air. This improves the overall conditions inside the home and makes the indoor air feel more comfortable.

8. Planting trees for shade: Trees are a great source of shade, and even a small tree makes a dramatic impact on indoor temperatures. There are a huge variety of trees that grow fast and offer shade in only a few years. Adding a few of these to the landscape is a relatively inexpensive way to ensure home comfort during the heat of summer.

Homeowners can benefit from a number of cheap ways to reduce cooling needs and maintain indoor comfort. Shading windows is one way to ensure the sun’s rays do not heat the inside of a home or apartment. During the summer, the sun can easily raise indoor temperature by as much as 15 degrees. Window tint is commercially available and reduces the sun’s rays that enter the home. Using ceiling fans during the day and window fans at night are two other options.

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