Here in Texas, the temperatures hit the mid 90’s around June, and through July and August, we regularly hit triple digits. This also means that our electric bills reach triple digits, as our AC units are running around the clock. But there are things that you can do around your home to keep it cooler during the day and help keep some green in your pocket.
Shade your Windows
Keeping your windows covered up during the day will keep your home substantially cooler. There are many options, from standard mini blinds to window tint, any type of covering will work to keep the ambient temperature down. Blackout shades or curtains block the light from entering the room. Window tint film reflects the light away from the windows and doors. Shading the outsides of your windows can also be helpful. Planting shade trees around the south side of your home or an aptly placed awning could provide some sort of temperature relief. According to the Department of Energy, air temperatures under trees “can be as much as 25°F cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop.” If your home is surrounded by shade trees, this could reduce the temperature outside of your home, which will substantially reduce the temperature inside.
Make sure that your home is insulated properly to help reduce the escape of cooled air and the introduction of warm air. Small cracks around the seals of doors add up. Go through your home at least twice a year and check the seals on all of your doors and windows. Foam insulation kits are available to refresh the old seals on both the inside and outside. Foam outlet covers are also available to block drafts from coming in through the walls of older homes. If the insulation in your walls is not that airtight, using expanding spray foam around gaps will help the warm air from seeping in. If replacing seals and foaming is not enough, consider investing in more energy efficient doors and windows. Look for products that have the Energy-Star label, as they have passed Performance testing from the National Fenestration Rating Council.
Clean Your AC Units
Whether you have an HVAC or a window unit, both have filters that need to be cleaned regularly to continue to run efficiently. Your HVAC unit has several places where maintenance is helpful in keeping down the costs and temperatures of your home. Change the intake filter regularly to allow proper air circulation throughout the vents. Speaking of vents, be certain that they are open and the dust has been cleaned off of the shutters. Also be certain that the condenser unit outside is free and clear of grass and debris. Cleaning around the unit as well as spraying the coils clean with water will allow the unit to maintain proper airflow. It is recommended that HVAC maintenance personnel are called if your unit needs to be cleaned.
Last but certainly not least, summertime is the perfect time to cook outdoors. Instead of heating up your home with the oven and stove, why not cook your meals outside on the patio? You will reduce the amount of heat that you release into the home from the appliances, as well as reduce how hard your air conditioner has to work in order to push that hot air out and introduce cooler air into your rooms. Plus, with the money that you’ll be saving from your lowered electric bill can be used to upgrade to that new grill you have been eyeing. Enjoy and stay cool!