By Cris Carl, Networx
Save energy this summer. It's easy to keep your house cool without air conditioning. Employing a few basic environmentally friendly principals will help keep you cool and save money.
1) Hot Air Out, Cool Air In
The most basic thing you can do to keep your house cooler without air conditioning is to keep as much sunlight out as possible and let cooler air in at night. During the day, keep windows, drapes, blinds or shades closed, especially on the southern and western sides of your home. If you have a porch, you can put up large plastic or bamboo shades to cut down on sunlight.
Use white or light colored window dressings to reflect light. You can also apply reflective slicks to windows to further cut down on light. At night, leave cabinets open as well, as they will store heat.
3) Be a Fan of the Fan
Moving air is cooler air. At night, place fans in windows to bring more cool air in. Ceiling fans can also make a big difference. In terms of cooling, even a one-mile-per-hour breeze will make you feel three to four degrees cooler. In terms of energy savings, if you run a ceiling fan full-blast for 12 hours, you will only spend about $10 a month in electricity. Ceiling fans have two settings, one to pull air up (for winter use), and the other to push air down. Make sure your ceiling fan is blowing down.
4) Turn Your Fan into an Air Conditioner
Another easy way to cool your home without air conditioning is to place a bowl of ice or a frozen milk jug in front of one or more fans.
5) What's hot in your home?
It's one thing to keep hot air and sunlight out; it's another to identify the appliances in your home that generate heat. If you aren't at home during the day, it is easier to simply shut off as many electric appliances as possible. If you spend more of your day at home, try to use heat-generating appliances only during the coolest part of the day. For example, use the microwave instead of the stovetop or oven. Or, let your dishes air dry in your dishwasher instead of heat-drying.
6) Electronics Are Hot, Too
Keeping your electronics on a power strip provides a quick way to "power-down" before leaving for the day.
7) Light Bulbs
Change incandescent bulbs for cooler fluorescent bulbs. Turn off lights when not in use.
Humidity makes a room hotter. Do laundry early or late in the day. Take showers or baths during the cooler times of day. If your bathroom, laundry room or kitchen has vents, use them. Invest in a dehumidifier if you live in a humid climate.
9) Insulate Your Attic
A well-insulated attic, especially when an attic ventilating fan is used, is one of the best ways to keep heat out of your home.
As you plan out landscaping for your home, be mindful of having deciduous trees, trellises and shrubbery on the southern and western portions of your home. Don't place heat-absorbing rocks, cement or asphalt too close to the house.
With a small amount of planning, you are on your way to a cooler and more enjoyable summer.