The mercury will soon be hitting 100 degrees down South, and that means it is time to prepare your home for summer temperatures. During the summer months our power bill is frequently more than our car payment, which can really wreck an otherwise meticulous monthly budget.
Tips For Preparing Your Home For Summer
Change your ceiling fan’s direction. Ceiling fans require some maintenance after winter usage. I know, it seems counterintuitive to use a ceiling fan during the winter, but by running fans on low and changing the blade direction to blow air up you will create a slight updraft and constantly recycle warm air back into the room. The opposite is true in the summer, when airflow should be sent down to produce a wind-chill effect (make the room occupants feel cooler). Most fan models have a switch above the light fixture to change blade directions. A good rule of thumb is to run your ceiling fan counter-clockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter.
Curtains and blinds. In warmer temperatures, close the curtains and blinds in the heat of the day. Room-darkening curtains may be hung in bedrooms not used during the day to block out sunlight. This is especially important for rooms facing West and exposed to the heat of the afternoon sun.
Consider installing an attic fan or vent. If you have ever been in an attic in the hottest part of summer you already know what a hot box they become. I remember laying some plywood in our attic early one summer to make some storage space and I just about passed out. Consider installing a vent to pull that hot air off your ceiling.
Plant a shade tree next to your outside air condition unit. Providing some shade over your air conditioner’s outside unit can help it run more efficiently.
Inspect dryer vents. Clogged dryer vents cause warm air to blow back in to the room where your dryer is located, eventually raising the temperature in the whole house.
Check the insulation around doors and windows. Our dog has a habit of scratching at our back door when she wants to be let in. Sounds harmless enough, but considering she weighs nearly 100 pounds it tends to take a toll on the insulating strip next to the door. I make it a point to replace this strip each summer and winter before extreme temperatures cause air to sneak in around the door.
Switch to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. This is a standard tip on any energy saving list, but it is important for reasons other than direct kilowatt savings. Compact fluorescent bulbs give off less heat than regular incandescent bulbs. CFL bulbs will cause less impact on the temperature of the room.
Run the bathroom exhaust fan during showers. During the summer, an air conditioner’s primary purpose is to replace warm, moist air with cool, dry air. A long, steamy shower can create muggy conditions in your bathroom that spills out into adjacent rooms and hallways when you open the bathroom door.
Replace air conditioner filters regularly. Most filters suggest a 90 day useful life. If you live in a dusty area, or your family suffers from allergies you may want to replace filters more frequently – like maybe every 60 days. Blocked air filters create a drag on the efficiency of your air conditioning system’s ability to push and pull air through air registers.
Consider baking dishes in the morning when outside temperatures are low. You can always reheat them in the evening using a microwave, which gives off very little heat compared to a traditional over. If your power company charges an hourly rate for kilowatt use you may also enjoy some savings by not using appliances during peak times (traditionally mid to late afternoon).
Use a drying rack for heavy clothes such as jeans and towels. My wife and I bought a drying rack to hang jeans and towels right out of the washing machine. We let them air dry for a while, and then throw them in the dryer for a few minutes with a Bounce sheet to soften them up and remove wrinkles.