The only thing more brutal than the summer heat is the energy bill you’ll get from the electric company. Keeping your house cool can be a challenge when you want to keep your utility bills and energy use in check. Fortunately, there are many techniques you can use to keep your house cool and comfortable without relying heavily on the AC.
Cook outside instead of inside. Every time you use the oven or stove, you heat up your home. Your home is getting hot enough from the sun without the extra heat that will remain trapped for hours. If you must cook, use the grill or set up an outdoor stove. Better yet, cook less and eat more cool, uncooked salads in the summer.
Add shade to the sunny side of your house. One side of your house will always be sunnier than the other. In North America, Europe, and all places in the northern hemisphere, the southern side of your house will get more sun.
Mitigate the extra heat from the sun by adding shading plants or trees to the southern side of your house.
If trees are not an option, try adding a simple roof extension to offer some shade to the South-facing wall. This usually blocks a lot of heat absorption. It also gives you a shaded outdoor living space.
Use light-blocking window shades. For windows that receive a heavy dose of sunlight, cut down on the greenhouse effect by using shutters and shades during the day. Let in natural light through the North-facing windows only. Open windows that don’t get a lot of sunlight for a nice breeze.
When the sun goes down, open your windows and let your house air out. In areas that aren’t extremely humid, nights become cool. Your house will become stuffy on hot days. Opening windows at night allows fresh, cool air to flow in. Just remember to keep the screens shut to keep the summer insects out!
Modify your roof to be a lighter color. Black tiles suck up heat and transfer it to your home. Even a corrugated steel roof is cooler if it’s painted white. Using lighter colors or adding plants has significant cooling effects on your home.
Only use the AC when you’re home. It doesn’t matter what temperature your house is while you’re out. Only turn your AC on when you are at home and the temperature is truly uncomfortable. Turn the air conditioner off once your house is comfortable enough. Not only will you save on energy, your body will grow better heat tolerance, making the outside more comfortable. Also, you’ll appreciate your AC much more if you only run it sparingly.
An air conditioner is not the only way to cool down in your home this summer. Try keeping a variety of cold drinks or chilled water available. Downing a glass of icy lemonade will keep you cool and comfortable for at least an hour if sipped slowly.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to keep your house cool. If you have the possibility, adding smart landscaping will keep your home more comfortable in the summer. If not, there are plenty of more affordable ways to stay cool at home in the summer heat.