Depending on the climate you live in, your heating and air conditioning could end up costing you a pretty penny. Even regions with moderate climes may experience either cold winters or hot summers (or both) that require the use of HVAC in order to keep your home interior comfortable. And while many homeowners in typically cold areas tend to have a backup option, like a fireplace, a wood stove, or even a geo-exchange in order to cut the massive costs of heating a home, you might not know of a good substitute for cooling during the hot summer months. If we’re being honest, ceiling fans just don’t cut it once temperatures soar into the triple digits. So how can you keep your home cool while cutting back on AC usage?
Here are some tips you might want to try.
- Conduct a home energy audit. Over time, any structure is bound to settle and shift somewhat. And this can lead to air seeping in around the seams, making your home less energy-efficient and causing discomfort during the hottest part of the year. A home energy audit helps you to pinpoint areas of energy waste, including gaps around doors, windows, vents, pipes, and baseboards, as well as areas where insulation isn’t performing as well as it could. With this knowledge in hand, you can increase the airtightness of your home in order to boost energy efficiency and keep your home cool at less cost.
- Check your landscaping. We all know the pleasure of ducking under the canopy of a tree when the sun is blazing at its zenith. The cooling shade is a welcome relief on a bright, sunny day. And the same principle can be applied to your home. If your yard is nothing but grass and shrubbery, it might be time to think about planting some shade-giving trees. Of course, you’re unlikely to shell out the dough for fully-grown specimens, so you’re going to have to play the waiting game with this form of cooling. But if you select the right saplings, you could have coverage within just a few years.
- Add energy film. This cling-film product might remind you of window decals, what with its a stick and re-stick properties. But there’s a lot more to it, including an estimated 90% reduction in the heat-producing solar rays entering your home.
- Install window shades. The majority of the sun’s heat-producing rays enter your home through the windows. And while you can certainly keep the blinds closed to reduce this incursion, you might want to think about shading your windows from the outside in order to preserve your view and your interior temperature. You could install awnings or architectural louvers, for example. But you’ll want to select the option that not only meets your practical needs but also suits the style of your home and your personal design aesthetic.
- Consider alternative energy options. You might not want to spend a lot of money on upgrades to cool down your home, but if you are a staunch supporter of the eco-friendly movement and you can play the long game, installing solar panels, a residential wind turbine or even a geo-exchange (that uses the ground temperature as a base to heat and/or cool your home) could help you to keep your interior cool in the summer with a lot less expense and carbon debt.