As spring gently morphs into summer, the energy bills for many homeowners begin to spike as they turn on their air conditioners to battle rising temperatures. While air conditioning units are a great way to quickly cool an overheated home, there are other ways to keep temperatures down that can save you money on your utility bills. Here are a couple of simple ways to keep your home cool.
Use the Night Air
If you live in an area where it gets fairly cool at night (below 75 degrees), you can use this night air to reduce the temperature in your home. Instead of turning on the air conditioner, open the windows at night and use either a whole-house fan or smaller box fans to circulate the cool air throughout the home.
Where you place the fans, which windows you open, and the timing are all key to using this method. Heat rises while cool air sinks to the bottom of any area. Therefore, you'll want to open the windows on the side of the home where the breeze is flowing through (e.g. northward breeze, south-facing windows) and strategically place the fans on the bottom floors of your home to force the cool air there to different parts of the area.
Meanwhile, you'll want to make sure the windows on the top floors opposite to the breeze (e.g. northward wind, north-facing windows) are open as well to let the warm air escape. Lastly, you'll only want to keep the windows open up to the point in the day where the temperature starts rising. Generally, this is after the sun comes up. Close all the windows to trap the cool air inside, and use the fans to circulate it.
Shade and Block
Another good way to keep the house cool is to make good use of shade screens and drapes. Also known as sun screens and solar shields, shade screens block the sun from entering the home and heating the interior. They're fairly inexpensive, costing anywhere from $75 to $95 per window for materials depending on where you live. They may cost a little more if you opt for professional installation. However, it's worth the investment because these shields can help reduce your energy bills since you won't need to use the air conditioner as much because the house won't get as hot.
Investing in a good set of drapes or curtains is also a good option. Light-colored drapes reflect sunlight, preventing the heat from getting into the home. Drapes also do double duty in the winter time by preventing cold air from getting into the home and causing your heating bills to go up. If you can only afford to get shades screens or drapes for a few windows, get them for the ones that are situated in direct sunlight.
Another way to reduce your energy bills is to ensure your air conditioner is in tip top shape. A malfunctioning air conditioner typically has to work harder to cool the home, resulting in higher energy bills. To have your system inspected or for more tips on naturally cooling your home, contact an air conditioning contractor in your area.