BEATING THE HEAT WITHOUT SWEATING THE BILLS – THE SECRETS TO A COOL SUMMER

What if you were told that by using your air conditioner less this summer you would find great wealth, free time and still remain cooler than an ice cube? Although this is a slight embellishment, the truth is, by reducing the use of your home air conditioner (even slightly) you can greatly reduce your energy bills. To increase savings, consider implementing the following simple interior/exterior household techniques.

Did you know that using appliances during a heat wave could cause your air conditioner to work double time? When appliances work, they create added heat as well as moisture, which in turn will make your air conditioner work harder to lower the air temperature and humidity level in your home. A stove, for example, can force the house temperature up by a few degrees - another reason why a summer barbecue is a great idea. Similarly, a dishwasher releases heat during its drying cycle – the perfect excuse for delaying that chore until sundown.

To keep the house cool, you should keep your house tightly sealed during the day. It is important to keep all windows, doors, blinds and draperies closed. For added relief, install stylish awnings on windows where the roof overhang does not provide enough shade. Or, if you have bamboo shades, hang them outside the window to prevent the sun’s heat from entering through the windows. These tactics will help prevent heat and humidity from seeping into the house.

To prevent heat from being generated within your house, lamps should be kept off. Consider using fluorescent lighting as an alternative. Fluorescent lights use less energy and do not overheat, which will aid in making your home more pleasant in the warmer weather.

There are also many steps that can be applied to the exterior of your house to reduce indoor heat. One of the most effective is strategy is shrub planting, which can simultaneously improve curb appeal while providing shade for your home. Deciduous trees work best and should be planted on the south side of your home for maximum shade. These trees will also be beneficial in the winter, allowing sunlight into your home when their leaves have fallen. Asphalt or cement in non-shaded areas around your property should be avoided, as these materials increase heat levels around your home. If you are house hunting, or have the time and resources to make renovations to your current residence, consider painting your house in a light colour as this will help to reduce heat inside your home.

Of course, on days where it seems as though the heat is overwhelming, it may be necessary to give in to the air conditioner. In this case, there are still some cost cutting measures that can be taken, such as cleaning and replacing clogged air filters, a simple task that can reduce cooling costs up to 10 per cent. If you have central air conditioning, have your duct system inspected to ensure it is well connected and sealed to prevent leakage, which can increase energy consumption by 20 to 30 per cent.

By making these simple daily adjustments to your home, not only will you have the perfect alibi for avoiding arduous chores but your home will be freshly cool as well.

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