Preparing Your Home for Summer Temperatures

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.

Comments

  1. We invested in sun screens for our house when we bought it. They are basically regular screens that have thicker wires. You can still see out but the sun shines in less. They make a huge difference in the amount of heat that comes through the window. I’m so glad we got them.

    I know some people go to the extreme of putting cardboard lined with tinfoil over the windows. I’m personally not a fan of that since I like to be able to see out, but I have no doubt it keeps the heat out. It would be great in a room you don’t use very often.

  2. We use our slow cooker to do most of our cooking in the summer and I rely on my breead machine to make the side to go along with it. If I do cook, I try to keep it limited to the stove top or I just do one giant day of back-to-back baking to keep the house cool the rest of the week.

    I also line dry all of our clothes and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can start doing that.

    We try to stay outside a lot and don’t have the air on as much, until it gets too brutal. The kids play in the sprinklers to keep cool and I make lots of slushies and milkshakes as treats for them and lots of iced coffee for me :)

    Lots of great ideas- thank you!

  3. I live in the cold north, but it still gets hot in the summer.

    I think our air conditioner stays mostly out of the sun do to it’s position in relation to the house, but I’m definitely going to check on it this summer. Maybe I’ll have to plant something next to it!

  4. Great tips. I live in the scorching heat of the southwest, so I know all about that darn sun! We have sun screens, we have our AC unit under the shade of a tree, we do all the tricks! We also take advantage of the sun by line drying clothes, using solar lights, etc.

    Take Care

    LJ

  5. Thanks for the tips – we live in the great cold north in Minnesota, so the summer still seems a ways off. We’d settle for double digits right now, you k now, like 10 or 11 degrees!

    I’ll file these tips away and check back later!

  6. I would suggest building a simple solar cooker. It’s relatively easy (I did it without cutting myself or glueing myself to something, which, if you knew me, really means a lot) and can be accomplished with two cardboard boxes, foil, glue and a piece of glass (I retreived one from an ugly picture at a yard sale for $1.oo). There a few websites out there dedicated to solar cookery.

  7. In summers pools and spa are the essentials where people would like to spend their most of the time. So carry out regular maintenance to keep it fresh and healthy

  8. Great ideas – my suggetions from SW Florida
    -make a vestibule so you can enter your home from a shaded door. Down here we usually have a screen room to use.
    -use your slow cooker outside in a safe location: garage, covered porch, etc. because every little bit helps
    -use the exhaust fan, if it is outside vented, over your stove when cooking
    -always use a lid on pans if boiling something. If making pasta, bring to a boil for about 3 minutes, then turn off burner,cover, pasta will be ready in about 15 minutes; potatoes can be boiled for about 7 min, left on burner,be sure to cover, and will be done in about 20 min.
    -learn to cook everything on the grill – roasted summer corn is delicious and different than boiling
    -if you do not have AC, use a window or box fan to exhaust the air for about 30-60 minutes around supper time, when the outside air is cooler and window in the shade, reverse fan direction
    -if bedrooms are just too hot to sleep in, change rooms: nothing says you can’t sleep in the LR or even basement. Homes in the south used to be built with sleeping porches – if you feel safe, you could sleep on a screened porch.

  9. Always check out the internet or you tube before you call the repair man. It has saved me so much money.

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