5 Green Home Cooling Tips
If you live in a warm climate that is relatively temperate during the winter months, chances are you save on heating in the winter but pay through the nose for cooling costs during the sweltering summer months. Keeping your home cool and comfortable is a necessity, but you probably don’t enjoy paying the piper for all that electrical usage, and if you happen to be the eco-conscious type, chances are you’re also frustrated by the carbon footprint you’re racking up year after year.
The good news is that you’re not the first one to face such conundrums. Even more importantly, the recent growth of the green living movement means that you now have more resources, products, and options than ever before when it comes to keeping your home cool during the summer while living up to your eco-friendly ideals.
Here are just a few green energy solutions that will help you to enjoy a comfortable home interior even as you save money and do your part for the health of the planet.
1. Install Ceiling Fans
One of the best ways to keep your interior cool when the sun sends the thermostat soaring is to utilize ceiling fans. In truth, these don’t actually lower the temperature.
However, the feeling of air passing over the skin has a cooling effect on the body. This could allow you to reduce your reliance on air conditioning at the very least, or perhaps even turn it off entirely when outdoor temperatures cool in the evening.
2. Address Window Issues
One of the worst points of ingress for outdoor heat is windows. If you have well-sealed, double-paned glass, chances are you don’t have to do a whole lot more with your windows to keep your energy use in check.
Of course, not everyone has the dough to install these pricy, energy-efficient windows, and even those that have them could suffer some uptick in heat when direct sunlight is streaming in. There are many options to address problems with windows, however.
One good option is to cover them up. Keeping windows closed tight during the hottest part of the day is a must, and you may also want to keep drapes drawn as a way of reducing incoming sunlight. Awnings can also help to reduce the sunlight coming in while preserving your outdoor views.
A third option that many people don’t know about is energy film. This affordable, peel-and-stick, cling-film product is designed to keep as much as 90% of heat-producing solar rays from entering your home, and all it does is tint your windows so you don’t lose your view. As a bonus, you’ll notice a lot less fading of furniture and home surfaces near windows, too.
3. Conduct a Home Energy Audit
A professional home energy auditor from your electric company in Florida (or a third-party vendor) will inspect your structure from top to bottom and run tests to determine where energy waste is occurring. The report you receive as a result will give you the information you need to seal leaks around windows, doors, pipes, vents, and the seams of your home where the bought air is leaking out and jacking up your energy bill.
Although a home energy auditor is not qualified to make repairs for you, many can suggest repair options and refer you to reputable and reliable services to seal up the leaks in your home. You could just buy some weather stripping and sealant (caulking) from your local hardware store on the cheap and make fixes yourself, but you get what you pay for.
4. Don’t Waste Energy When You’re Not at Home
Believe it or not, a programmable thermostat could be your biggest weapon when it comes to fighting outrageous home cooling costs (well, aside from solar energy providers). According to the U.S. department of energy, you can save a ton of energy and expense by setting your thermostat to go no lower than 78 degree Fahrenheit during the summer months.
In addition, you should program it to roll back during the day when your family is gone at work and school. By reducing the AC by 10-15 degrees for eight hours a day, you could reduce your energy bill by as much as 15%. Just make sure to adjust for any animals in the home that could get overheated while you’re away.
5. Upgrade Cooling Options
If you’re happy with the AC unit you have, scheduling regular (annual) appointments for inspection, cleaning, and repair should help you to maintain optimal performance. If, however, you’re in the market for a new AC unit, consider upgrading to energy-efficient options that significantly reduce energy demand (often with 2-step systems) and keep costs low.
Don’t forget that you can also speak with solar energy providers or even seek out a residential wind energy business to find out more about installing appropriate green energy solutions. These options may cost you up front, but you can’t beat the savings over time and you’ll significantly reduce your carbon footprint in the process.