Here are ten tips for maintaining a comfortable home without relying on the air conditioner this summer.
Heat rises so make sure your roof is well-ventilated. Installing a temperature controlled attic fan that switches on when the mercury rises helps.
We tend to think of insulation as a must for winter, but proper insulation also guards against the heat of the day in summer. Ensure proper insulation in the walls and ceilings.
Shade the west side of your home by planting large bushes or trees to mitigate the amount of direct sunlight your west-facing walls receive. Make sure to keep plant any shrubs far enough away from the foundation.
Install ceiling fans in larger rooms and set them to the forward position so the fan rotates counter clockwise. This will help create a wind-chill effect and make you "feel" cooler.
Installing venetian blinds or California shutters are both aesthetically appealing and effective at shutting out the sun's glare. Or you can add heat reflecting film on windows. It will help keep things cool, while reducing ultraviolet rays that can damage furniture and floors.
Most summer breezes blow from west to east, open the southwest and northeast windows to allow cross ventilation. Open windows at night to allow the cooler air in, and close them in the morning.
Use a dehumidifier to absorb moisture in the air. A dehumidifier can also prevent mold, mildew, and musty odours, especially in the basement.
Consider using an outdoor barbecue or a slow cooker which emits very little heat.
Invest in a gazebo for your deck or garden, this will give you protection from the sun and summer showers when you want to cool off outside.
Lighten up the exterior paint. Light coloured paint doesn't absorb as much solar energy as darker paint, and is a relatively low-cost solution that can reduce your energy bills.
When summer sizzles, think green, keep your cool - and enjoy!