As temperatures rise, your first instinct may be to head for the thermostat. But overworking your air conditioner can be hard on your wallet. Additionally, it causes more wear and tear on your A/C unit, which may have you paying for A/C repair or replacement sooner than you’d like.
Did you know that there are alternative ways to cool your home? Yep, that’s right. There are tons of cooling methods you can use, either without running your air conditioner, or in tandem with efficient A/C use.
So, instead of overworking your A/C (and hiking up your energy bill in the process), consider some cost-efficient alternatives. Here are 11 home-cooling hacks that can keep you and your house cool this summer.
Test drive a couple of these tips this summer to keep you and your family cool. Of course, no matter what home-cooling “hacks” you try, A/C use will be inevitable on some days. Check out our tips to make sure you’re using your A/C efficiently this summer.
- Install ceiling fans and run them counterclockwise. Let’s start with some classic advice: If you haven’t already, you need to install ceiling fans. Running them counterclockwise in the summer will help push cool air down instead of pulling it up. (Set them clockwise in the winter for the opposite effect.)
- Run bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans. Hot air tends to linger after you cook dinner or shower. Turn on the exhaust fans to suck all that hot air out of your home.
- Close your curtains during the day. This will block out some sunlight and reduce the heat that comes in through the windows. (Take down any dark, synthetic drapes you may have. Opt for cotton or sheer curtains instead for filtered light).
- Change out your light bulbs. Most people don’t realize that their incandescent bulbs emit heat. According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, incandescent bulbs waste 90% of the energy they use, which is given off as heat. Switch them out for fluorescent or LED bulbs, instead. Not only are these bulbs cooler, but they’re also more efficient.
- Use the ice “hack” on your portable fan. Fill a bowl with ice and place it on a table or other surface that’s level with your portable fan. Then, turn on the fan for a blast of icy breeze with a cooling mist. Use this method for instant relief from muggy summer days.
- Invest in a Chillow or DIY your own. What’s cooler than the other side of your pillowcase? How about a Chillow? A Chillow is a cooling pad that you can place over your pillow. It works wonders for hot sleepers. You can also DIY your own cooling pillow by filling up a small pillowcase with rice and sewing it shut. Store the rice pillow in the freezer during the day, and at night, sleep on it like a regular pillow. The rice will keep its cold temperature for a while, making for a cool night’s rest.
- Apply heat-reducing film to your windows. Block out anywhere from 70-90% of the heat coming in through your windows with reflective film. Not only do window films cut down on excessive heat, but they also stop some of the cold air that seeps in through windows in the winter.
- Install duct boosters. If you want to draw more cool air into certain rooms, give your air ducts a boost! A duct booster fan is a fan that fits inside an air duct and can be turned on to increase the airflow in a room. Try this out if you have certain rooms that just won’t cool down.
- Cross ventilate your home. Most people know to open their windows at night during the summer months. What you may not know is that you can strategically open windows to create a cooling pressure current. Only open windows on the downwind and upwind sides of your home to create a steady stream of cool air. Note: The best time to open windows in the summer is anywhere between 5 and 8 a.m. and 7 and 10 p.m.
- Plant more trees. If you’re really invested in cooling your home for years to come, consider planting trees and foliage around your house. As they grow, shade trees will provide natural shade that will keep the air 2-9 degrees cooler, and the surface of your home 20-45 degrees cooler!
- Clean or replace your air filter. Keeping your HVAC system well-maintained ensures that your A/C unit runs at peak efficiency (and saves you more money). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a dirty, clogged filter can lower your energy consumption by up to 15%. If you think your air filter needs replacing, consider choosing from our selection of high quality air filters.