May has arrived with a bit of flair. While cold snow was raging in Colorado, the temperatures hit the 80’s here in Indiana. Odd. I wonder what other bad behavior May has planned for us.
This early May heat makes it clear it’s not too early to start getting your house ready for summer. We don’t have central air conditioning in our old farm house, so we depend on a variety of natural ways to keep our house cool. Here are a few tips we use for keeping cool without spending a fortune in energy costs:
1) If you have ceiling fans, now is the time to switch the fan’s rotation. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to change the direction of the blades. For cooling in the summer, the blade should rotate counterclockwise.
Note that the ceiling fans don’t actually cool the room – they circulate air so that the air flow makes you feel cooler. If you have a ceiling fan running, you should be able to raise the thermostat 2 – 5 degrees and still feel quite comfortable.
According to the California Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center, you could save up to 2% in energy costs for every degree that you raise the thermostat during the air conditioning season.
2) During these transition days from pleasant spring to summer heat, let nature cool your house. Check to see if your windows have a feature that allows them to lock while partially open. If so leave your windows open a bit in the evenings to let the cool night air into your home.
In the mornings, one of the first things we do now is to open up many of the windows in the house to let the cool morning air in.
When opening windows, open at least one on each side of the house. This allows the air to flow through, creating lovely breezes. As the temperatures outside start to exceed the indoor temperature, it’s time to shut the windows. We open the windows again in the evening when the temperature outside falls below the indoor temperature.
3) Curtains and blinds are your powerful friends in the summer. Close the blinds or curtains to block out the rays of the hot summer sun. Open them once the direct sun has rotated away from the window. Opening the blinds is another of my daily routines.
If you have venetian blinds, you can set the blinds so that you still have a view and the room still gets natural light, but the hot sun rays are fully or partially blocked. Just turn the blind slats so that the bottom of the slats point down toward the window and the tops of the slats point up toward the room.
4) Set your dishwasher to air dry. That saves it from heating up your kitchen in the summer.
5) Run your heat-generating appliances, like your clothes dryer and your dishwasher, at night when it’s cooler.
6) Better yet, let your clothes dry in the dryer for about five minutes, then hang them up to air dry. The few minutes in the dryer will remove most of the wrinkles and most clothing will dry completely after being hung up overnight.
7) Clean the filters and vents on your air conditioners now, before you start using them for the summer. Most room air conditioner filters can just be rinsed out in the sink and air dried. Your air conditioners will have better air flow and therefore run more efficiently with clean air filters.
8) Get out your collection of slow cooker recipes so you can use your slow cooker instead of the oven. You can even use the slow cooker to bake a cake. I haven’t baked one yet, but I have a few slow cooker cake recipes that I’m planning to try. I’ll let you know how they turn out.
9) Turn off your TV, especially if it is a plasma TV. Those big screen TV’s can generate a lot of heat!
Do you have any secrets for keeping your house cool in the summer? Share them with us in the comments, please!
These tips should get you started on keeping cool this summer and will help you to save on your energy costs, too. Staying cool and saving money, too … now that’s The Fat Dollar way.