Looking for ways to keep the house cool this summer without blowing the budget on air conditioning? Here are a dozen simple tips from the Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Energy Administration and BGE that might help you out.
- Set the thermostat on 78 degrees if you are using air conditioning. For every degree you raise your thermostat setting, you will save about 5-7 percent on cooling costs.
- Keep cooking, bathing, doing laundry and using the dishwasher to a minimum on hot days. These all produce heat and humidity, which make your house warmer.
- Use your kitchen/stove exhaust fan to get rid of heat, moisture and cooking odors. Turn off the fan as soon as it has done the job. Leaving your fan on for extended periods will also remove conditioned air.
- Close window blinds or curtains to keep out the sun so rooms remains cool.
- Install awnings over windows on the side of the house that gets the most direct sunlight.
- Consider a whole-house fan for your attic. It will pull cool air through the house and exhaust warm air through the attic. These are most effective when the outside temperature is cooler than inside, usually at night. An industrial grade fan installed in a central window and set to suck air out can have a similar impact.
- Install ceiling fans and use room fans to help move cooled air inside your home.
- Turn off lights when a room is not occupied.
- Evaluate the insulation in your attic. The higher the R-Value, the better the product insulates. Increasing insulation to at least R-30, which is 10-14 inches deep, is a good investment.
- Keep access to your attic and other uncooled areas of your home closed, weather-stripped and insulated.
- Make sure the attic and crawl space areas are properly ventilated. Poor ventilation will add to your summer cooling costs and can trap moisture, which makes insulation less effective.
- Plant trees in locations around your home to provide shade in the summer.
By Betsy Stein