Tips for having fun and staying safe in spite of the summer heat.
This week has been a real scorcher for many parts of the United States (looking at you Southwest). When temperatures get that hot, it can be both frustrating and dangerous to go out and try to enjoy the summer sunshine. As a matter of fact, it can even be hard to hide from the heat indoors! That summer sun beating down on your home can really heat things up – especially for your south-facing rooms.
So, what can you do to make sure that you beat the heat without a staggering electric bill? Well, here are a few things we recommend.
Shade your south-facing rooms. The biggest source of heat (and uncomfortable variations) during the summer is going to be the sun streaming in your south-facing windows on hot, sunny days. Luckily, you can shade these rooms using solutions as simple as blinds, curtains or even outdoor trees/plants. Now may not be the time to plant in your area, but it is something you can keep in mind for next year. If that still doesn’t do the trick, research the zoning options that your contractor offers.
If you do go outside, hydrate! Stay safe when you are spending time outdoors. It doesn’t have to pass the 100°F mark for people to start breaking a sweat. And, you should remember to hydrate not just during obvious activities. It’s also important to remember this when you are at the swimming pool (or participating in other outdoor water activities).
Find the highest temperature setting you are comfortable at and stick with it. A few degrees may not make a big difference when it comes to comfort, but it can make a difference on your electric bill. The Department of Energy recommends a temperature setting of 78°F, but that may be too hot for you – adjust to your liking. But once you find the sweet spot, stick with it. Thermostats set at cooler temperatures just run longer – they don’t necessarily cool any more quickly.
Understand the function of fans. Yes, it can feel cooler in front of a fan. And, they can be a great idea to get the air circulating in your home. But, fans do not create cool air. That’s important to keep in mind when you aren’t at home. You should treat fans like lights – use them only when you need them and turn them off when they aren’t in use.
Create a functional, outdoor living space. When you have the opportunity to take the party outside – take it! Shade an area of your backyard and invest in an outdoor fan or two. While it doesn’t create cool air, it can make you feel cooler. Plus, it can help keep mosquitoes away. Of course, not every day is going to be suitable for an outdoor get-together. But, for cooler days and evenings it is a good idea to take advantage. For additional savings, fire up the grill! Remember, an oven can really heat up a home.
Of course, the best way to make sure your air conditioner is ready to efficiently tackle the heat is scheduling preventative maintenance during the spring with your local HVAC professional.
How do you tackle the heat during the summers? Do you have some tricks that we left out?