Central Pennsylvania summers can be hot, with temperatures climbing into the high 80s and even 90s. When the temperature and humidity go up, your air conditioner needs to work harder to keep your home at the desired temperature. That can drive up your energy bills. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to get relief from the heat. Here are six tips to keep your home cool in the summer.
Properly Insulate Your House
Poor insulation allows heat from outside to come into your home. Make sure any cracks in your windows and doors are properly sealed with weatherstripping or caulk. Another smart idea is to install heat reducing film on your windows. Even something as simple as installing blinds and curtains in every room can make a big difference.
Cook Outside More Often
You probably avoid using your oven in the summer, but other cooking methods like the stovetop or slow cookers can also add extra heat to your home. Grill outside whenever you can or prepare dishes that don’t need to be cooked.
Utilize Fans the Right Way
Fans make a big impact if you use them the right way. Running a ceiling fan counterclockwise can pull cooler air up and then blow it back onto you. Another great strategy is to place a bowl of ice in front of a fan so it blows colder air into the room. Always run a bathroom or kitchen fan while bathing or cooking so that humid air is vented out of your home.
Keep Vents Flowing the Right Way
A common misconception is that you should always close upstairs doors to keep the air conditioning contained in each room. This is not always the best thing to do. If a room doesn’t have any return vents, it’s better to keep the door open. Returns are vents that pull air in and take it to the AC unit to be cooled by the system. If you don’t feel any air coming out of a vent in a room, it is most likely a return vent.
Another point of confusion for homeowners is high vs. low vents. Which ones should be closed in the summer? Remember that high vents are designed to pull hot air off the ceiling in the summer, while low ones pull cold air off the floor in the winter. You should make sure the high vents are open when it’s hot outside. Additionally, you should always leave the vents furthest from the unit open and only adjust the ones closest to the unit.
Maintain Your Air Conditioner
One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your home cooler is to make sure your AC unit is properly maintained. You should be scheduling service once a year. A well-maintained system is more efficient and can keep your home cooler while using less energy.
Try Zoning or Balancing
If you’ve tried every other method to keep your home cool and it’s still hot and stuffy, consider more advanced measures like zoning. This means installing multiple thermostats in different areas of the home. Each thermostat controls a different set of dampers so that you have control over the temperature in those areas.
Another measure you can take is to balance the system. This is a process of modifying and adjusting the ductwork in your home so that more air flows into rooms that are particularly hot.
Use these tips to cut down on your energy bills while cooling your home. If you’re still having trouble keeping your home comfortable and your unit is older than ten years, it may be time to repair or replace it. Contact a certified HVAC technician to assess the unit.