If you live where the temperature rises over 80 degrees, you more than likely need air conditioning or some other way to cool your home. However, you don't have to shell out big bucks every month. There are natural ways you can cool your house and still beat the heat, and ways to make the most out of the energy use of your air conditioner.
Use a Ceiling Fan
Fans, especially ceiling fans, are an excellent way to spread around the cooler air. In the mornings before the sun heats up the outside, open your doors and windows that have screens and turn on your ceiling fans to circulate the cool air. Even if you do use an air conditioner during the day, the ceiling fans will also help circulate that cold air throughout the house.
Keep the Blinds Drawn
During the day when the sun is shining into your windows, make sure to use window covers that can help block out the heat from sun rays. If you have blinds, make sure they are closed. Dark colored or heavy curtains also work great. Sometimes you may want to consider which direction your windows are facing. For instance, windows facing the east are only a concern in the morning when the sun is rising, while west-facing windows are more of a concern in the afternoon during the hottest times of the day.
Plan a Strategic Use of Appliances
If you need to use any items that heat up, such as your clothing iron, dish washer, or your oven, only use them during the times when it is cooler outside so you don’t add heat to the house. Cooking outside on a grill is also a great idea, rather than heating up your kitchen with the stove or oven. Even light bulbs that you may turn on in your house will generate extra, unwanted heat. Consider the option of replacing those light bulbs with energy-efficient or halogen bulbs that emanate less heat.
Install Insulation Up Above
Add more insulation to your home in the attic or ceiling to keep cool air from escaping, and to keep that attic heat from coming into your home. Make sure to seal any possible air leaks so that the heat doesn’t seep through any cracks. How much insulation you need, or what the rating level is for the insulation, will depend on where you live and how hot the area gets. You can accomplish this yourself by getting rolls of insulation and laying them in the spaces between the boards in your attic.
Consider Room Size, BTUs, and Efficiency for Air Conditioners
When it comes to measuring energy efficiency for air conditioners there are three things to consider: the room size, energy output (labeled as BTUs), and the electrical wattage of the air conditioner. This is relevant to room conditioners that you place in any given room. The most energy efficient conditioners have an Energy Efficient Rating (EER) of 9.7 or higher. This number is found by dividing the BTUs of the air conditioner by the wattage. You won’t need to calculate this yourself; most stores where you purchase air conditioners will have an easy chart for you to compare different units and make your choice based on room size and budget. Another thing to look for is the label “Energy Star” which indicates the unit is at least 10% more efficient than others.