As anyone who lives in a hot climate knows, beating the heat at home can be expensive. When the temperatures soar into the triple digits and you crank the thermostat to keep your home interior comfortable, the only thing that will have you sweating is the thought of the outrageous utility bill that will show up in the mail as a result. But there are ways to cut costs without necessarily sacrificing the cool indoor atmosphere you crave. So rather than suffering through the sweltering heat in order to avoid a high energy bill, you might want to try some of these effective strategies for cooling your home for less.
- Install energy film. One easy and inexpensive way to reduce the amount of heat that gets into your home in the first place is to install energy film on your windows. You’ll buy this cling-film in sheets and cut it to size before placing it on the glass. And what you’ll get for your efforts is up to 90% fewer of the sun’s heat-producing rays entering your home. This can significantly reduce the need for air conditioning, helping to maintain a cooler interior temperature for less expense. And the best part is that you won’t have to give up your daytime view of the outdoors by closing the drapes to keep sunlight out.
- Plant a tree. Okay, if we’re being honest, planting a sapling today won’t really bring you relief from the heat for at least a few years – until your tree reaches full height. But the shade provided by trees surrounding your home can not only make your summer BBQs more comfortable; it can also keep your home interior cooler by providing a barrier between the sun and your roof, windows, and other common points of ingress for the sun’s rays.
- Use your programmable thermostat. If you still rely on an old-school, dial thermostat, it’s no wonder your cooling costs are through the roof. For one thing, these devices are notoriously inaccurate, partially due to the dial feature and partially because they are easily knocked out of calibration. If you haven’t had yours calibrated recently (and regularly), you could think you’re setting the thermostat to 78 degrees F, but actually be setting it much lower. In any case, it’s time you upgraded to a digital programmable thermostat that is more accurate and offers options for greater efficiency. All you have to do is set it to roll back 10-15 degrees during the eight hours a day your family is away (at work and school) and you could shave up to 15% right off the top of your energy bill.
- Increase airtightness. There are ways to use less air conditioning and still maintain the cool home interior you crave. And one of the best is to make your home more airtight so that less hot air gets in and less of your bought air leaks outside. You can start with a home energy audit to locate leaks, and from there all you have to do is add weather stripping, sealant, and/or caulk to stop up the leaky areas in your home. You will also find out if you need to add to or upgrade insulation. The end result will be a more airtight and energy efficient structure, not to mention decreased cooling costs.