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Cut Your Summer Cooling Bills

Cut Your Summer Cooling Bills
Apr
14
Thu

Keeping your home cool in the summer months can be a major financial headache. This blog presents a number of possible steps that householders can take to keep their homes cool. As well as long-term solutions such as attic insulation and investing in more efficient airconditioning. There are quick and simple measures that the reader can take straight away to reduce cooling costs.

Keeping your home cool in the summer certainly isn't cheap - especially if you live in a region where the summer season is long, humid and hot. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your air conditioning costs while keeping you comfortable.

"If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen."

Cooking in the summer can be a major source of additional heat in your home and can also promote humidity by sending steam into the air. Reduce both by ensuring that the door is shut while the kitchen is in use, and taking care to run the extractor fan to remove some of the extra humidity produced by cooking.

You can turn down the heat still further by cooking during the cooler part of the day and in a microwave rather than baked dishes, which tend to need a long time in the oven and generate a lot of heat. Investigate healthy no-cook options like salad and gazpacho soup, which will be more welcome in the summer than hot, heavy meals. If you have space, take your cooking out into the garden in the summertime. Barbecues are fun and don't heat up your living space.

The same goes for other activities that create additional humidity. Keep baths and showers short and fairly cool to cut down evaporation, and ensure that you use the extractor fan. Leave laundry for the cooler part of the day, and dry outdoors if you can rather than running the spin dryer. The lower the humidity in your home, the more comfortable you'll feel without having to crank the air conditioning.

Shade is your friend. When you cut out the sun, you cut out the extra energy it puts into your home. For a quick fix, close the drapes or window blinds on the sunny side of your property during the day. The thicker and more opaque your window coverings, the better. Look into energy-reducing window coatings or replacement windows to cut down the need for cooling.

Outdoor awnings and shutters cut out even more heat but can be expensive to install and maintain. For those on a budget, window shades made from metallic mylar survival blankets can be an inexpensive solution. They're widely available from dollar stores and stores selling camping supplies. The reflective mylar can be trimmed to fit your windows and then taped over the glass, or stretched over a wooden frame and secured inside your windows.

Trees and plants are an excellent source of shade, as they actively soak up the sun's rays through photosynthesis. Trees and tall hedges can shade windows on the lower floors, while creepers and vines can help keep buildings cooler by absorbing the sun's energy. Unfortunately, trees, shrubs and creepers take a long time to grow enough to shade your windows and walls; they can also bring their own problems, such as eventual damage to your property. Make sure you seek expert advice when planting anything close to your walls

Fans: a fan can help reduce the need for expensive air-conditioning by circulating air and making you feel cooler. If you have a ceiling fan, make sure it's blowing in the right direction in the case of most ceiling fans this will be anti-clockwise when looking up at the fan. The upturned edge of the fan blades should lead, creating a downdraft. You can also use a standing or desk fan to spot-cool the places where you'll be sitting. Remember that all fans promote cooling by evaporating moisture from the space, so there's no point running them if the room is empty.

Close the door on cooling costs. Opening the window for a breeze instead of turning on the air conditioning is a good idea, but when you're running the air conditioning you need to keep doors and windows closed. The same goes for interior doors leading into spaces that you don't need to cool, such as halls and entryways.

Cracks and gaps around doors and windows can also let heat in and cool air out. Make sure that all your doors and windows close properly, with no spaces; install draft excluders or use filler if they don't. You should also check for leaks between the frame and the walls of your home since these are another potential source of energy loss. Gaps around cables or pipes leading in and out of your house may also add to your cooling bill, so make sure they're properly filled and sealed.

Insulating your walls cut down heat and thus reduces cooling costs. Painting exterior walls a light color reflects energy outward and can make a surprising amount of difference. Roofs and attics because of their large surface area, your roof can be a huge source of additional heat. 

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