By Deborah Kearns, RE/MAX Senior Editor, Corporate Communications
Ah, summer. Kids playing outside, family vacations, ample sunshine and plenty of cool treats. Did I mention oppressive heat? Yup, there’s that too.
Don’t get me wrong: I love summer in Denver. My native South Florida was like a sauna most months out of the year, so the dry heat here on the Front Range is like a cool bath compared to that. But like so many other homeowners, I enjoy an air-conditioned home in the summer months after being baked by the sun’s rays outside.
Here are some tips to help keep your house cool when the summer weather heats up:
Program your thermostat.
Set the thermostat to 75 degrees when you’re home, but not much lower. Doing so will make your A/C work harder. When you leave the house, program the thermostat to 80 degrees then adjust it to go back to 75 degrees 30 minutes before you arrive home. It takes more energy to restart an A/C unit after being off for several hours so it’s best to leave it on and program it. Set it and forget it!
Use your ceiling fans.
Ceiling fans are synonymous with life itself in Florida, but I notice that’s not the case in Colorado. We installed fans in every home we’ve lived in. It helps us limit our air conditioner usage and save money on our utility bills. Installing ceiling fans in bedrooms and common areas is fairly inexpensive compared to the price you’ll pay to cool an entire house in the summer months. Make sure your fans are switched to rotate counter-clockwise in the summer to push cool air down.
Close the blinds.
Sunlight is a thing of beauty, but too much of it shining through your windows can heat up your home fast. Keep the blinds and curtains drawn in your home, especially when you’re not there, to minimize the UV rays coming in. You can take it a step further by investing in window coverings and/or window films – available at most home improvement stores – that are specially designed to block out UV rays. Darker coverings will absorb the light and make rooms hotter, so choose carefully.
Open the windows at night.
If it cools off enough during the night, crack some windows to help draw in some breezy drafts. It’s safer to open the windows on the upper level of your home or in areas on the main level that are inaccessible to anyone from the outside. Make sure you shut the windows during the day, though, to keep in the cool air from your air conditioning.
Cook on the grill.
It’s a no-brainer: Using your stove and/or oven during the summer months pumps more hot air throughout your home. The solution: Grill outside as much as possible. After all, you don’t want to sit down for supper bathed in sweat. As a bonus, grilling your food is a healthier way to prepare your favorite dishes. Yum!
Switch out light bulbs.
Did you know incandescent and fluorescent bulbs give off more heat than CFLs? Now you do! Swap those old-school light bulbs for CFLs and not only will you reduce the heat throughout your home, but your electricity bill will reflect some savings too. Win-win!
Do you have favorite home-cooling tips? Share them below!