As summer is in full swing, we are trying to get the most of our pool parties, beach vacations, and BBQs before fall comes back around. With all of the fun planned comes the toasty weather that this season brings. There is no worse feeling than not being able to escape the outside heat in our own homes. Therefore, our B&E Energy team pulled together some tips on increasing the efficiency in our living spaces to stay comfortable and cool in the summer months.
Insulation and Air Sealing
Properly insulating and sealing your home is necessary no matter which season it is to keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round. Here, you can rely less on your cooling systems, and reduce your utility bills!
- Insulation: Unfortunately, most homes do not have enough insulation in their ceilings, floors, and walls. This lets your precious air-conditioning escape outdoors. At the same time, hot and humid air from outside can seep through the exterior, leaving the inside of your home to feel stuffy.
- Air Sealing: Small cracks and holes in your home’s barrier can lead to the cool air from the inside to leak outside while letting the stuffy summer air come in. These openings in your home could be anything from a hole from a drill to a faulty window. When these gaps are closed, you can enjoy your air conditioning without worrying about it escaping your space.
To get this done, schedule a home energy audit where a technician will come to your house to inspect your insulation and home’s exterior. They look to see where insulation is lacking or poorly installed, and search for any cracks hurting your house.
Your technician will then create a plan with you on the best way to make your home comfortable and efficient. Creating a proper barrier to keep hot air out and the cool air inside is the first step in having a cool home summer.
Our gadgets and appliances make our lives easier. However, they can produce excess heat as well! Here are some tips and tricks to save energy with your electronics while keeping your living space cool.
- Unplug cords and electronics: When not in use, unplug all cables and electronics from sockets. Though these machines may be relatively small, they give off a significant amount of heat! Make it a habit to put away the device or charger whenever you are done using it. Not only will this keep a comfortable home, but it will keep your space looking neat!
- Move appliances in the shade: If left in the sunny areas of your house, your electronics can overheat. If certain rooms have a lot of natural light, try moving electronic devices into a shady spot.
- Use your grill: Grilling doesn’t only have to be for BBQ parties! Instead, opt for grilling dinner outside instead of heating your oven or stove and creating extra heat in the kitchen. Check out these delicious summer-inspired recipes to try on the barbecue this summer.
- ENERGY STAR: If you are in the market for new appliances, consider purchasing ENERGY STAR certified devices to save on your utility bill and decrease energy usage. Heat radiates from standard appliances when they are overworked. These energy-efficient appliances save energy, keeping your space cooler. Look out for the ENERGY STAR label when shopping for devices.
- Be smart on vacation: When heading off on summer vacation, add switching off lights and unplugging small electronics (large appliances such as refrigerators and ovens are okay) on your pre-travel checklist!
- Do chores at night: Run your dishwasher and laundry machines at night when the sun is away. These appliances create a lot of heat when they are at work, so running them when it is most cool out is wise.
Blinds and Windows
Steaming heat can radiate through the windows of your home, creating a “greenhouse effect.” By having a strategic method for when and how you let light in, you can minimize your living space’s stuffiness:
- Shutting your blinds at specific points of the day: Closing your curtains during the warmest hours of the day (typically from noon till 3 pm) will keep the heat at bay. For further comfort, close east-facing window shutters in the morning and west-facing window shutters in the evening.
- Choose paint colors wisely: If a home renovation painting project is on the summer bucket list, stick to lighter colors. Dark rooms and exteriors absorb more warmth.
- Energy-efficient window treatments: ENERGY STAR recommends specific windows to maximize efficiency and limit heat transfer in the summer. Spectrally selective coatings can filter out 40%-70% of heat compared to standard windows.
- Air circulation: Open windows at night to let cooler airflow through the home.
Our HVAC systems are one of the most essential machines in our homes. Not only is it specially made to keep us cool in the summer, but it improves our indoor air quality as well! However, discomfort can quickly arise if we aren’t careful in maintaining these devices the correct way:
Change your filter: Change the filter of your air conditioning units to keep excellent indoor air quality in your home. Without a proper filter, your family is at risk for inhaling allergens and other toxins floating through the air.
Home Depot suggests that how often to change your filter depends on things like the type of filter and the size of your residence. Homeowners should change basic fiberglass filters monthly (especially in the very hot and cold months). High-quality pleated air filters can be changed every 3-6 months.
Turn up the thermostat while away: Put your mind at ease during your summer vacation, knowing that your utility bills won’t skyrocket while you’re away. Research engineer, Sarah Widder, suggests that the lowest cost way to reduce energy without sacrificing comfort is to set the thermostat at a higher temperature while the home is unoccupied.
Annual Maintenance: The last thing you want is to be caught dead in the middle of a heatwave with a broken A/C! Schedule a yearly maintenance check-up on your HVAC system to ensure everything is running smoothly. It’s best to get this done in the spring before it gets too hot out!
Tweaks you can make to your living habits can make a significant difference in staying cool in your home during the summer. When you take proper care of your appliances, manage your HVAC system, and insulate/seal your home, you can live at your ideal temperature no matter the weather outside.
Let B&E Energy help make your house a home by scheduling a home energy audit with us today. We will help create a plan that will help you create a pleasant environment. How do you plan to relax this summer? Let us know on Instagram!