Most homes these days have air conditioning of one sort or another, but most people will notice that they do use energy once the bill arrives. If you want to keep that number down, there are a lot of things you can do to keep your home cooler so that your system doesn’t have to work as hard.
1. Keep drapes or blinds closed on south and west facing windows.
When strong sunlight enters your home, you’ll notice the increase in temperature due to passive solar gain – otherwise known as “the hot car effect”. Keeping your windows covered on the south and west side will have the most impact. If you want to be able to see outside, keeping blinds or drapes open on the north will be fine.
2.Install reflective/UV-barrier film on your windows during the summer.
Again, the south-facing and west-facing ones are the most important. You can buy the peel-and-stick film at your local hardware store and apply it yourself (having someone assist you is essential – it’s awkward). You can also hire a company to do this for you more permanently. It costs a few hundred dollars, but the results are more seamless (and more permanent). You can also get more colour variety and better quality film.
3. Keep windows closed during the evening.
It may be tempting to open them when you come home from work, but you will actually be letting in that hot afternoon air. Once night falls and the air outside cools
4. Enjoy cooking on your barbecue!
Cooking generates heat, so it’s better (and more fun!) to take it outside during the summer.
5. If possible, shade the south side of your home with trees and other landscaping.
Trees and shrubs that can keep your home exterior shaded really makes a difference on those hot afternoons. Do your research and plant trees that will survive the winter, and don’t plant so close to your house that roots can interfere with the foundation or plumbing lines.
6. While your AC is running, keep your home tightly sealed.
Make sure everyone – especially kids – knows to keep everything shut when the AC gets switched on. It just takes one open window to let all that beautiful cool air escape.
7. If you leave your home for an hour or more, turn off your air conditioning.
Modern air conditioning systems are powerful and can cool your home quickly. Having yours running while you’re at work or visiting friends is a waste.
8. Make sure your attic is well insulated.
Cool air can escape if there isn’t enough of a barrier between the inside and the outside.
9. Have your air ducts sealed.
Sometimes a lot of your cooled air is lost through gaps in air ducts – sometimes as much as 20%. That’s a lot of cool air that isn’t getting to where it’s needed.
10. Switch off incandescent and halogen lights.
Scale back to any light sources you have that use LED or fluorescent bulbs, which don’t emit nearly as much heat. If you can, switch your bulbs.
Knight wishes you and your loved ones a cool and carefree summer!