Summer is in full swing, and with the rising temperatures, it can be hard to keep your home cool. It’s mighty tempting to blast the air conditioner to cool down your home in a jiffy, but is that the best choice you can be making?
Air conditioners can be both pricey and lack efficiency. BC Hydro estimated in 2018, that it costs $0.69 per day to keep your air conditioner cooling to 25 degrees. The catch is that most who use one keep it lower than that.
If you’re looking for an energy efficient way to keep your home cool, we’ve got a few ideas that you can try out before you open your wallet and turn your air conditioner on!
How else can you cool your house?
Air conditioners are amazing for keeping the heat away, but they’re not an efficient choice and they can be expensive to run. Luckily, Canada only has a few weeks when the weather gets unbearable, so many Canadians manage to live without them. But not everyone.
Some of us lucky Canadian ducks have glorious cooling machines that can drop the temperature by a few degrees in a matter of minutes. But just because the machine’s available, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice.
So before you press that “on” button, there are a few other ways you might want to consider for cooling your home this summer:
Update your windows, doors, and insulation
Whether you’re cooling your home with fans, air conditioning, or otherwise, you’re not cooling anything if that chilled air is escaping. Cooling your home starts well before the hot summer days are in full bloom.
When it’s time to think about updates, consider:
- More energy efficient windows and doors
- Quality insulation that keeps hot or cold air inside
- Filling all those pesky cracks where air can escape
These aren’t only great summer updates, they’ll help when it comes to heating your home in the winter too!
Invest in a quality fan
Fans circulate air, which doesn’t actually cool it but it can make a room feel significantly cooler. They do this using a fraction of the energy that air conditioners use. This means that not only are they a more energy efficient choice, but they will also cost you significantly less to run.
Fans aren’t as effective as air conditioners, but ceiling fans do a good job of working a room. If you’re in a smaller area, seating yourself in front of a smaller fan can also provide similar cooling relief.
Use a dehumidifier
As the name indicates, a dehumidifier is designed to take moisture out of the air. Even though the temperature won’t actually change when there’s less moisture in the air it can feel much cooler.
Overall, a dehumidifier is going to use less electricity than an air conditioner. However, it’ll use more than a fan — making it a more energy efficient choice, but not the most. As an added bonus, dehumidifiers can also prevent mold and mildew!
Install solar shades
Solar shades are dark screens fitted into your windows. These reduce heat by blocking out sunlight and keeping the heat away before it’s had a chance to get in your home. This heat reduction can help you save money on energy costs in higher temperatures and keep the overall temperature cooler.
It’s important to note that solar shades don’t keep cool air inside your home. That means if you don’t have well-sealed windows or good insulation, that cool air is going to escape no matter how cool you keep it. But as a fun bonus, solar shades also help reduce glare which is easier on your eyes, and help protect your furniture from fading over time.
If you need to use your AC
If you have air conditioning, it can be hard not to use it when the temperature is particularly high — and no one can blame you for that. But there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re using your air conditioner as efficiently as possible. Not only will this help you reduce your energy consumption but save you money too!
Run it sparingly and strategically
You want to run your air conditioner as little as possible, saving you both energy and money. That means running it when the room is too hot to be in without it and, most importantly, when you’re actually there.
Running the air conditioner when you’re not home doesn’t make sense — if you do, you’re cooling the air for no one. Likewise, while you might need it to keep the heat away while you go to bed but you probably don’t need it running all night. Try using a programmable thermostat or timing device to reduce its use once it’s done its job.
Keep a tight maintenance schedule
The more efficiently your air conditioner runs, the less energy and money it’ll take to run it. To keep it in tip-top shape, you want to make sure that you properly maintain your HVAC system. That means regularly replacing the air filters and scheduling professional maintenance.
Not only will this help your air conditioner to run more energy efficiently, but it’ll also help it to last longer — both of which can save you money in the long run.
Other cooling techniques
Beyond the machines and implements that you can use to help you cool your house, there are a few more things you can do:
- Cook outdoors: Turning off your oven or stove can increase the temperature in your kitchen, cooking outdoors can help you in the long run. There are a lot of dishes you can make on your BBQ or otherwise that are delicious and won’t heat the house.
- Dry your clothes on the line: Your dryer is also a major culprit for raising the temperature of your house. Where possible, you want to avoid using your dryer and instead allow your clothes to dry naturally in the wind or sun.
- Plant greenery: Not only do trees and shrubs help make your home look nice from the curb, but they can also keep it cooler as well. They provide shade that, when planted strategically around your home, can help to keep the sun off and the heat out. It’s possible that plants grown inside your home may also keep the air in the room cooler as well.
- Keep the blinds closed: Even if you don’t have full solar shades, keeping the blinds closed can also keep the heat out. Traditional blinds can also block the sun out and keep the room cooler.
- Turn the lights off: If you’re using a traditional incandescent light bulb, that light is going to give off heat so you’ll want to keep it off in the summer heat. However, if you’re using fluorescent or LED lighting this isn’t a problem.
Keeping your home cool this summer
It gets hot in the summer, even here in the cold, white north, which means finding a way to cool your home is important. Yes, air conditioners are fancy and work well, but they’re not the most sustainable or affordable choice.
Instead, consider choosing an energy efficient way to cool your home this year. Whether you buy an extra fan or rely on a dehumidifier to help you cool the space around you, there are a few things you can do to help keep yourself cooler.
Even if you don’t manage to keep your air conditioner off all summer, using some of these techniques to help keep the rooms in your home cooler can help you rely on it less. It’s simply one small step closer to making your home more energy efficient.
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