For people who are living through near record breaking drought and extreme heat, air conditioning is a real necessity. Air conditioning is never cheap, but when it is used so extensively, the cost can be exorbitant. Finding ways to keep a house cool in extremely hot weather is definitely a challenge, but there are great ways to do so, and in the process, lower the cost of electric bills.
*Install a programmable thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat will keep the house at a consistent temperature. Most programmable thermostats are designed to allow you to set them so that your units don’t run continually when you aren’t home. If you want the house to be cooler when you get home, you can set the thermostat for a lower temperature just before you get home. You can also set it for a lower temperature at night so that you can sleep more comfortably.
*Avoid using the fan with air conditioner units
It isn’t necessary to have the fan running when the air conditioner is also running. By setting your air conditioner on automatic, the fan will only go on when the compressor unit goes on, and this is only needed to maintain a consistent temperature.
*Use heat blocking curtains
Heat blocking curtains are a great way to keep heat out and maintain a cooler home. These curtains are great because they will keep heat in during the winter when it is cold outside. To be optimally effective, you will need to keep the curtains closed pretty much all the time.
*Keep shades or blinds closed
If your house is very bright, chances are, a lot of light will generate a considerable amount of heat in the house. By using shades or blinds and keeping them closed, the intensity of that heat can be minimized, and by extension, the house will naturally be somewhat cooler.
*Invest in double pane windows –
Double pane windows are great for keeping heat in during the winter and preventing it from coming in during summer. UV blocking coatings are also available, and all of these newer high tech windows are capable of greatly increasing the energy efficiency of a home.
*Limit the use of heat generating appliances
Certain appliances such as a clothes dryer, oven and dishwasher will generate a tremendous amount of extra heat. Whenever possible, avoid using a dryer – especially during the hottest part of the day. Drying clothing outdoors saves money and energy. Instead of using the oven, use the top of the stove to cook, or cook meat outside.
If you have to use the oven, cook things in bulk so that they can be eaten more often. A microwave generates much less heat and uses less energy. Reheating things in a microwave will keep a house cooler as well. Avoid using a dishwasher unless it is completely full, and run the dishwasher late at night when the sun isn’t creating more heat.
The better the insulation in a house, the easier it will be to keep a house cool. If you live in a multiple story home, or an older home, chances are, the insulation may not be ideal. In homes where there is no insulation between the ceiling of an upper floor and the roof, the upper floors are likely to be very hot. Although it can be costly to add insulation, you may be able to take tax deductions for energy saving improvements you make to your home.
Ceiling fans can help to circulate air in rooms and throughout the house. In places where drought isn’t a concern and water conservation isn’t mandatory, swamp coolers or small cooling units that generate cool air through water evaporation can be very effective at cooling small areas. For multiple story older homes that lack sufficient insulation, this can be a tremendous asset and a way to cool the area without having to lower the thermostat to cool a heat generating area. Heat generating appliances such as computers, monitors and networking equipment can also make it difficult to keep a house cool. By unplugging these devices and turning them off when they aren’t in use, you can reduce the amount of heat they generate without having to spend money.