As the hot season is already here, cooling your home has become a necessity. Most people who think of summer prefer to focus on the nice part of this season, which includes picnics, tasty iced drinks, delicious ice-creams and long days spent at the pool or at the beach. However, the other side of the coin is that when summer strikes, it is unbearable to live indoors. We’re talking about the really hot days of summer where the intense humidity and heat make it almost impossible to sit comfortably on your sofa, not to mention sleeping in your bed through the night.
Las Vegas is definitely a hot place to live, especially in July and August. If you are not careful, your electric bill might skyrocket during these two months. That’s why it is imperative to use an efficient HVAC system that can get you safely through the summer without breaking your budget. However, you can do more than just replacing your air conditioning system to save money this summer and cool your home. There are plenty of ways to live each day at its fullest while enjoying constant temperatures of less than 75 degrees Fahrenheit inside your house.
Just like in the last couple of years, the National Weather Service predicts temperatures of over 110 degrees in the Last Vegas area. This area has seen temperatures hitting 116 degrees more than 18 times in the last two centuries. There is no doubt that this summer is going to hit us hard. In order to cope with it, you need to be equipped with the best home cooling tips. We will group these tips in five categories to make it easier for you to find the right ones for your home.
– Make the most out of shades: buy matte shades for east and south windows.
– Keep your blinds closed: according to Family Handyman, up to 30% of exterior heat comes through windows. By keeping your blinds closed and by utilizing curtains and shades, you can keep all this unwanted heat outside, while reducing your heating bill by more than 5%.
– Keep your thermostat at a standard temperature.
– Get a cold shower — rinsing off under a cool stream of water helps bring down your core body temperature by a few degrees.
– Buy an Effective AC System: replacing your 10-year old HVAC unit with a brand new Energy Star model can help you cut your home cooling costs by more than 40%. A new AC system is also more efficient at cooling your entire home without letting in dust and germs.
– Replace air filters regularly: change your HVAC filters once a month this summer in order to ensure perfect efficiency of your air conditioning system and save more energy.
– Plant shade trees around your house: however, do not plant them on the South lawn, as you want to take advantage of passive solar heating during the cold winter months.
– Use fans to cool each room: an AC system can use up to 50 times more energy than fans. If you are on a budget and you want to enjoy a low energy bill, an Energy Star compliant AC system should do the trick. Replacing an old system typically costs anywhere from $3,000 up to $10,000. However, replacing an old unit with a new one will save you around $1,000 a year, so it will pay for itself in around 5 years or so.
– Install a programmable thermostat: mounting your own thermostat is a simple
DIY project which should not take a lot of your time. A programmable thermostat
pays off in about a year if you use it for both cooling and heating. The investment
is minimal – maximum $150.
– Switch to CFLs: it has been proven that standard bulbs give off a lot more heat
than modern CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs). For an investment of less than $5 per bulb, you can enjoy cooler days. You will recoup your investment in about one year.
– Do not air condition rooms that are not used: this will help you save a lot in the
– Decorate your house with indoor plants: indoor plants help keep the air inside your home cool. Have you ever noticed that the shade offered by a tree is far better than the shade offered by a building? The same principle applies for plants.
– Run appliances at night: using your appliances during the day adds even more heat to the air. Your dishwasher, stove and oven can wait until 10 pm, when you can use them without endangering your comfort.
– Open some of your windows at a time: open all downstairs windows on that side of your house that is shady enough in order to increase natural flow of air in the house. At the same time, open up the windows on the hot side of your house from the upper levels. By doing this, you will create a natural draft. As the wind swoops through your house, it will lower air pressure, which will pull hot air out of your house. This theory has been scientifically proven.
– Seal air leaks: the fewer air leaks you have in your house, the cooler your house will stay during the hot summer months. Sealing air leaks is quite inexpensive and helps you enjoy a cooler home for many years to come. (See diagram below.)
– Check your AC system’s efficiency: use a smart cooling test to determine if your AC system needs a tune-up. Simply set a thermometer on a supply register placed near the cooling equipment. Note the temperature after 5 minutes and move it to the return vent. Usually, the air coming out should be at least 15 degrees cooler than the one going in. An AC system that is not cooling at these levels could have serious problems or leaks.
– Choose cotton: bed liners made of cotton are amazingly breathable and excellent for promoting airflow and ventilation in your bedroom.
– Rig up your hammock: sleeping outside in your backyard could prove to be the most cooling experience of this summer.