The U.S. Department of Energy reports that air conditioning your home contributes to as much as 40 percent increase to your monthly utility bill. Summer with no AC can be easy and save a lot of money.
The soft sound of your air conditioner running can equate to huge electricity bills during the summer months. Go no AC.
While it’s tempting to crank the AC, there are other cooling solutions that cost much less and are way less harmful to the environment. Here are five ways to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient without much trouble or expense.
1. Mind the temperature
Closely monitor the temperature inside and outside your home. When it is cooler outside, then that is the best time to open up the windows to let air circulate around the house.
Arrange your drapes and furniture so they won’t restrict airflow. If your home has transom windows high on walls or operable skylights, create convection currents and let out super-heated air especially during the latter part of the day.
2. Use fans strategically
Rather than chilling out the entire house, an electric fan delivers cool air exactly where it is needed without the expensive electric bill that comes with an air conditioner.
- Ceiling fans — Ceiling fans pull cool air from the ground to the ceiling, where hot air usually rises and lingers. Make sure it is running in the right direction. Set it in a counter-clockwise motion at a higher speed to create a wind-chill breeze effect.
- DIY wind tunnel — Set one fan facing in on the area receiving the cool breeze and another one on the opposite end to maximize the cooling power.
- Box fans — When placed by the window at night, it sucks hot air out of your home and brings in cool air.
3. Turn off heat-generating lights and appliances
When you don’t have to use them, it is better to turn it off to minimize heat absorption around the house. Modern lightning, like compact fluorescents and LEDs, are more energy efficient but they generate more heat than you might think.
Consider unplugging any device that isn't needed. Many electronics remain hot, even when in standby mode. Also, you can keep the heat out of the kitchen by doing more cooking on the barbecue instead of using the range. Once you decide to go no AC, you'll discover all of these hot spots.
4. Install attic insulation
Attic fans do not help in significantly cooling your home but it is highly effective in keeping cooler air in your home from escaping through the ceiling. A solar-powered attic fan will cost you from $450-$800 but it is a one-time investment that can drastically lower your house temperature during hot summer days. Whenever the sun hits the solar array with enough bright direct sunlight, the self-contained solar unit exhausts hot air from the attic. Make sure to seal ducts, especially at vents and registers, before adding insulation to the attic floor.
5. Plant trees strategically
According to John Krigger, owner of Saturn Resource Management, most heat that circulates around the house comes directly from the sun shining through windows and onto the roof.
Let nature help in preventing the sun from beating down on your home during summer time. Plant some deciduous trees on the east and west sides of your home. This will allow them to shade your house from the sun’s deadly rays. If possible, consider planting trees or shrubs to shade your air-conditioning unit as well as your driveways and walkways.
Here are some ceiling fan ideas from Air-n-Water.com .