10 Ways to Cool Your House Without AC
The Sioux Falls area may have cold, harsh winters – but at least we get hot and humid summers to make up for them!
Nothing feels better than retreating from the summer heat to the air-conditioned solitude of your home. Unfortunately, running your AC can cost anywhere between $0.06 and $0.88 per hour on average – and that really adds up. Eco-conscious homeowners would also prefer to avoid using electricity as much as possible, and no one looks forward to replacing an air conditioning unit that has finished running its course.
So how do you keep your house cool without running your AC? Don’t sweat it. There are many low- and zero-electricity ways you can keep your house more comfortable this summer. Here are ten to start off with!
1. Plant Trees
Shade trees do far more than enhance a home’s curb appeal. They are remarkably effective at their job as well! When placed properly, shade trees may knock as much as 25% off your utility bills. Bur oak, red maple, honeylocust, black walnut and hackberry thrive in the Midwest’s temperate climate, and they all excel at providing cooling shade.
2. Install Awnings
Awnings complement any style of architecture, so they can greatly enhance any home’s curb appeal. And they are effective at conserving energy, too! According to Industrial Fabrics Association International, fabric awnings and exterior shades can reduce a home’s cooling costs by more than 50%. That means awnings are certain to reduce mechanical wear and tear on your AC unit as well.
3. Install Thermal Curtains
Thermal curtains aren’t high-tech or expensive. They’re usually made of thick polyester or cotton, but that’s all they require to reduce solar gain by up to 33% during summer. And if you would like your thermal curtains to become even more effective at cooling your home, spraying them with a light mist of water will enable them to cool any air which passes through.
4. Set Your Ceiling Fans to Rotate Counterclockwise
Ceiling fans go both ways. In the winter they should be set to rotate clockwise, as that enables their blades to force warm air downward. But in the summer they should be switched to rotate counterclockwise, as that creates a pleasant cooling downdraft. Don’t have ceiling fans yet? Consider installing them, as running one only costs about $0.01 per hour. Better yet, ceiling fans typically save 4-8% on overall cooling costs when they are used in combination with AC!
5. Install More Insulation
Many people assume that insulation is only designed to trap heat in – but it’s also just as effective at keeping heat out. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), homeowners can save an average of 11% on total energy costs simply by adding insulation to their attics, walls and floors in addition to air sealing their homes. The relatively low cost of insulation batting only makes this approach more economical!
6. Install a Solar Attic Fan
An inadequately ventilated attic can easily reach temperatures up to 150° on a hot summer day. And that doesn’t just translate to a hotter homestead, because a sweltering attic is also a perfect breeding ground for black mold. A solar attic fan is proven to cool an attic by an average of 20°. That’s going to save you significant cooling costs in the long run, and the deal is only made sweeter by the potential $1,500 federal tax credit for solar attic fans.
7. Install Insulated Window Film
Window insulation film is made of transparent plastic. Some films are engineered to reduce heat conduction, but others are designed to block the sun’s infrared and ultraviolet radiation. These solar films are effective at blocking up to 55% of heat from the outdoors, which may translate to a cooling cost reduction of up to 30%. Better yet, solar film’s ability to absorb UV light will help to preserve your flooring and furniture!
8. Switch to LED Light Bulbs
An incandescent light bulb works by heating up a small tungsten filament. The process is extremely inefficient, as approximately 98% of the electricity an incandescent light bulb uses is converted into heat. In contrast, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs only convert approximately 65% of their electricity into heat. A light bulb which emits significantly less heat is bound to keep your home cooler and save you money on your electricity bills.
9. Use a Dehumidifier
Your body produces sweat in order to cool off. But when the humidity in your home is too high, your sweat won’t be able to evaporate and carry off body heat. The EPA recommends keeping your home’s relative humidity within a range of 30 to 60% (or 30 to 50%, ideally). Using a dehumidifier to keep humidity within that range will keep you more comfortable, not to mention prevent the growth of ugly and irritating black mold.
10. Make Some Lifestyle Changes
Adopting a few new habits will help keep you more comfortable in your home during summer. Sleeping downstairs will let you avoid all the heat which rises to the upper levels of your home during the day. Sleeping with the windows open at night will welcome cross-breezes which promote better air circulation. Grilling outdoors is a great way to keep the heat out. And have you ever wondered why spicy foods are so popular in hotter climates? It’s because spice makes people sweat. That’s a virtually free way to feel cooler!
Of course, you don’t want to go completely without AC this summer. If you need an HVAC contractor in the greater Sioux Falls area to help keep you and your family comfortable, then we welcome you to contact PrairieSons today!