Keeping Your Home Cool Without Running the AC 24/7
Earlier this month, we began a two-part series on keeping your home cool while giving your AC a break. We continue this week with more actions you can take to decrease your reliance on your cooling system while saving money on your energy bill in the process!
Tip 3: Strategize Around the Sun
Keeping your indoor environment cool requires being opportunistic and paying attention to the small stuff. Train yourself and other family members to take little steps, day and night, to keep things cool.
Take advantage of breezy, cooler mornings and evenings to usher in cooler air, and keep it in when the sun is high and there is no breeze by making sure the windows and doors are firmly closed. Clean ceiling fans to prepare them for use in warm months by switching them to counter-clockwise rotation, and then make sure you are actually turning them on! A few additional well-placed fans can help maximize cooler temperatures and keep you comfortable when you go to sleep at night.
Ovens and stovetops add a lot of heat. Another small but effective routine hack is to try to prep and cook meals early in the day, before the hottest hours arrive. You may also find that this is a good time to explore alternatives to using your stove or oven so much, such as grilling or trying recipes which require fewer cooked ingredients.
Tip 4: Consider an Attic Fan or a Whole House Fan
If you are serious about decreasing your reliance upon central air or window units, consider investing in a whole-house fan. As the folks over at Green Building Advisor explain, “Whole-house fans are sometimes confused with ventilation fans that provide fresh air. Unlike a ventilation fan, a whole-house fan — an attic-mounted fan that exhausts air from a home at night — is designed to cool a house… The fan pulls air from the hallway and blows it into the attic. Since whole-house fans are relatively powerful, they quickly exhaust the hot indoor air, allowing cooler outdoor air to enter through the downstairs windows.”
This option is especially attractive if you are interested in leaving your central AC turned off entirely. In fact, it works best for homes which do not have or rely upon central AC, as it requires that you open windows so that the fan can pull in a great deal of cool but potentially humid air in the evenings, which could jeopardize your system’s ability to run efficiently when you turn it back on.
Which of these tips will you try to give your AC and your energy bill a break this summer?