It is now the middle of the summer season for those in the United States who see the season. Temperatures ranging from the 80s, 90s, and 100s. A welcome season for many who grow weak and weary of the bitter cold winter months that seem to last an eternity. Now that summer is in fact here, you'll hear the population convert their complaints of the bitter cold over to complaints of the scorching heat. It seems nobody is content in an area where the climate can drastically change with the seasons such as us here in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Under the coercion of the temperate rays of the sun, many seek out methods of cooling down during the summer while at home. Honestly, it is much easier to combat the cold of the winter. You can simply wear heavier clothing around the house and use extra blankets to keep warm without breaking your budget via the energy bill. Summer is a profoundly more stubborn. What happens when you remove all your blankets and your clothing yet remain in a puddle of sweat? When it's 85 degrees outside and 83 degrees in your house it can sometimes feel like an eternal suffocating hell.
Many seek out help with an installed HVAC unit in their homes to allow for central air conditioning. This one unit will send cooled air throughout the house wherever there may be a duct installed. Many houses are not equipped with this technology, therefore others will utilize overhead fans and/or in-window air conditioning units to stay cool. Fortunately for your physical comfort, you will feel great. Unfortunately, air-conditioning or other cooling methods will more than likely be your biggest utility expense during the summer. Considering this, it is important to really understand your house and why and how its indoor temperature is what it is.
You may be forcing your air-conditioner to do more work for you. You won't notice this until you get the bill at the end of the month. There are many things that homeowners do or own that contribute to unwanted heat in the house during the summer. Eliminating these heat leeches can not only lead to a NATURALLY more cool house, but allow for less strain and work on the air conditioner. Think of it as a job being payed based on performance. The less you work, the less you get paid. It is very similar for air conditioners. The less THEY work, the less YOU have to pay.
There are plenty of ways to reduce the amount of heat in your home during the summer that will prevent overworking your cooling units.
- The first thing you should check when it comes to anything. Is to check your insulation. Seriously. If you do not have proper insulation, it is just going to be that harder to control your houses temperature. You don't want heat leaking in, and you surely don't want cool leaking out. Also make sure there are no cracks or leaks in your HVAC system as well.
- If you run your air conditioner make sure that all outside seals are closed. Any cracks in windows or doors are going to grab the cool air and take it with it outside.
- Unplug your wireless router and modem when away from the house or not in use. Both my router and modem are generally warm to the touch which means some of that heat is getting dispersed into the air. If you're a torrent seeder among other things, this may make this decision harder for you.
- Unplug your cable boxes, set-top boxes, TIVOs, and TVs. My cable box gets very warm when it is plugged in. This could attribute to room heat. Unplugging your cable box is also beneficial considering the cost to keep it on. Some cable boxes can cost up to $10 a MONTH just to keep plugged in. It doesn't matter if you're using it or not. If it's plugged in, it's giving off heat and wasting electricity.
- If you have windows in your bathroom, open them while you shower. The hot and humid air from the shower can go outside where it belongs. Make sure you shower with the door to the bathroom closed as well. As you leave the bathroom, close the door behind you and let the hot air dissipate slowly from the bathroom, as opposed to leaving the door open and allowing all that hot air to enter the rest of your house's temperature zone.
- If your kitchen range has a vent, turn it on while cooking. Allow for the heat of cooking to exit the house, rather than dissipate throughout the house and heating it up. Additionally, try and keep all pots and pans covered to inhibit the heat escape.
- Eliminate or reduce radiational heating by closing the blinds of windows during the day. Leaving the windows uncovered will attribute to heat gain in the house from the radational heating caused by the suns rays. Some may say "Oh, how depressing. A beautifully sunny day, and you want me to clothes my blinds so I can't see it?". Well, yes. Your house is for living. Why not go outside and enjoy the weather rather than dimly enjoying it inside the house.
- Turn off your computers when not in use. Your laptops, your desktops, your netbooks, etc. My laptop has a normal running temperature of around 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat gets filtered away from the computer's integral parts and out of the vents on the body of the computer. If you leave your computer on while your AC is on, you will essentially have a heater (your computer) fighting your air conditioning unit. Why not buy a dehumidifier and a humidifier at that point and have them battle each other too? Steven Wright may have been on to something. (/sarcasm)
- Inhabit the lowest portion of your home. It is true. Heat rises. The most upstairs portion of your home is generally the hottest. The basement is generally the coolest area. Not only is it the lowest portion, but many basements are partially or fully underground. There is less light to penetrate and less heat underground.
- Reduce the amount of people in your home. Us humans are small heaters. Our homeostatic body temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Get enough people in a room and the temperature will surely rise. Nearly all of us have experienced this as well. A store or a small space with a lot of people is bound to become hot stuffy and sweaty. Consider having that summer party outdoors, rather than indoors.
- If you have an indoor ceiling fan, use it. It will rid of the hot air being stagnant as well as moving and circulating the colder air from an AC unit.
- When it comes to the air conditioning unit itself, makes sure the filter is clean and in good shape. Also try and position the unit so that it does not get direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause an AC to lose its efficiency.
- Do not set your thermostat low in hopes that it will cool your house quicker. This only puts extra strain on the air conditioner.
- If you're still using incandescent light bulbs, which you shouldn't be, your house may be warmed up by lights being left on. That's not to say that other bulbs can do the same, but incandescent bulbs are essentially mini-heaters that emit light.