Summer is officially here, and with blazing hot temperatures (they are coming, we swear!) comes the fight to keep your home cool. While tempted to crank up the AC for comfort the cost of cooling your home is enough to make you sweat.
While outside temperatures are out of your control there are things you can do to make your house cooler and minimize your utility costs. Safeguard your home from the heat with these tips:
Keep your blinds closed
76% of sunlight enters your home in the form of heat. Closing your blinds and curtains is the most convenient way to keep heat from entering your home. However, there are other ways to keep your home cool. Window films are another option that reflects sunlight before it’s transmitted through the glass. Check out our DTE Energy Weatherization programs to see if you are eligible for the Home Performance Program or the Insulation and Windows Program.
Run some fans
Ceiling fans help circulate cool air taking the pressure off your AC system. Rotate your ceiling fans counter-clockwise to run at a higher speed cooling your home more efficiently. The U.S. Department of Energy advises that if you live in a one-story home or apartment, the windows near a fan should be closed while windows that are further away from a fan should be opened. If you stay in a two-story home, open the windows on a lower level and operate fans on your home’s upper level.
Avoid cooking indoors
Cooking generates heat. To reduce indoor heat, avoid cooking on a stovetop or oven. Fire up the grill or eat healthier and cooler foods like salads and fruits. If you are anxious for an oven meal, try cooking after dark when outdoor temperatures have dropped and turn on the kitchen exhaust fan to help the heat dissipate.
Upgrade and seal your windows
If your home has old windows, then they may not be energy efficient. By installing new energy-efficient windows you can help cut the cost of cooling your home. Make sure your windows are sealed to close gaps that allow air to leak through. Poorly sealed windows leak air making your air conditioning system work harder. Weather stripping your windows will prevent cool air from leaking out of your windows.
Maintain cooling systems
Cut your energy costs by swapping your older air conditioner for a more energy efficient unit. ENERGY STAR®-certified room air conditioners use about 9% less energy than conventional models. Maintenance to your AC unit will help reduce your cost. Check your air filters every month and change your filter regularly, at a minimum every three months. A dirty filter blocks airflow and makes the system work harder to cool your home.
Find lower ground
Heat rises, so avoid the upper floors of your home. Your basement or garage will be the coolest areas in your home so maximize the space. Chill out there and sleep on the lower levels of your house for air and comfort. You can set your thermostat to a higher temperature for longer periods during the day and lower the temperature at night when you are upstairs to help cut your costs.
Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats cut energy usage by adjusting temperatures while you’re away or asleep. According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% annually by adjusting your temperature by seven to ten degrees which programmable thermostats automating the process. You can program them yourself or purchase one that slowly adapts to your temperature preferences. Some can even be set up with an app away from home. Learn about our DTE Rebate Programand find out how you can get money back for buying a new thermostat.