Across Iowa and most the USA, summer temps are projected to reach record highs this weekend. When the thermometer rises, it’s tempting to crank the AC or plant yourself in front of the nearest fan. Instead of reaching for the thermostat, try some of these tips to buffer your home from the heat without racking up your electric bill.
1. Keep your blinds closed.
Up to 30% of unwanted heat comes from your windows. Utilizing shades, curtains and other window shades can save you up to 7 percent on bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. By closing the blinds, this prevents your home from becoming a miniature greenhouse, which is especially the case with south- and west-facing windows.
2. Invest in blackout curtains.
Blackout curtains block sunlight, naturally insulating the rooms in which they’re installed. Consumer Reports recommends neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backings to reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent.
3. Be smart about your doors.
Closing off unused rooms will prevent cool air leaking into these areas during the hottest part of the day. You’ll want to capitalize on the cooler night hours, too, letting air flow naturally through your home.
4. Hack a fan instead of turning on the A.C.
Not even an air conditioner can give off a faux cool sea breeze, so try this simple trick. Fill a mixing bowl with ice or an ice pack, and position it at an angle in front of a large fan. The air will whip off the ice giving it an an extra-chilled feeling.
5. Swap your sheets.
Not only does seasonally switching your bedding freshen up a room, but it’s also a great way to keep cool. While textiles like flannel sheets and fleece blankets are fantastic for insulation, cotton is a smarter move this time of year as it breathes easier and stays cooler.
6. Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise.
You may not realize that your ceiling fan needs to be adjusted seasonally. Set to run counter-clockwise in the summer at a higher speed, the fan’s airflow will create a wind-chill breeze effect that will make you and your guests feel cooler.
7. Focus on the temperature in your body, not the house.
If your ancestors survived without air conditioning, so can you. From sipping tasty iced drinks to applying a cold cloth to strong-pulsed areas like your neck and wrists, cooling yourself from the inside out is not a bad idea.
8. Turn on your bathroom fans.
Or the exhaust fan in your kitchen, for that matter. Both pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your house or apartment.
9. Sleep low.
Heat rises, so hit the downstairs couch or basement, or put your mattress on the floor if the air feels cooler down there.
10. Ditch the incandescent lights.
If you ever needed motivation to make the switch to CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps, this is it. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy in the heat they emit, so tossing them to the curb will make a small difference in cooling your home while lowering your electric bill.
11. Start grilling.
It’s obvious, but we’re going to say it anyway: Using your oven or stove in the summer will make your house hotter. If it already feels like 100 degrees in your home, the last thing you want to do is turn on a 400-degree oven. Besides, who doesn’t want to get more mileage out of their outdoor furniture and seasonal accessories?