Sweatin’ to the oldies during the warm summer months can make indoor living miserable if you don’t have air conditioning or if your A/C goes on the fritz. Avoid the need to channel your inner Richard Simmons, and keep cool without A/C with these 10 tips.
Ceiling or box fans can move the air, making your skin feel cooler even if the temperature remains the same. If you have A/C, but it’s just blowing hot air, try running the HVAC fan to eliminate stagnate, stale air.
Don’t cook inside
Fire up the grill, make a salad or eat out. As temperatures rise in your oven, they also heat up the house. Running the dishwasher and laundry machines, using the stove, bathing (without using ventilating fans) and leaving lights on also contribute to heat gain. Limit these activities to the cooler times of day, like mornings or evenings.
Cover up windows
Large windows, especially those that face south, soak up the sun and the heat if not shaded, experts say. Keep your windows covered during the heat of the day.
Open up the house
If it’s cooler outside than in, open up doors and windows. When heat and humidity rise, close the house.
Install an attic fan
“Attic fans, power or solar, make a huge difference,” says Austin Knight, home comfort designer at Aire Serv of The Woodlands in Conroe, Texas. “They suck out the heat that’s stuck in there. Insulation on rafters is keeping the hot air from going through the home. It’s better to evacuate all the heat you can and keep it out.”
Use insulation wisely
One of the best places to upgrade home insulation is the attic. As heat rises and builds up there, it pushes back into the home, raising the temperature and cooling costs. An effectively insulated attic also helps the attic's structure and roof last longer. Attics also require ventilating systems, typically in the form of ridge and soffit vents.
Radiant barriers reflect heat
If you live in a warmer climate, consider installing radiant barriers in your attic. These reflective surfaces inhibit heat absorption into your home, lowering temperatures and cooling costs.
If you live in a home with a basement, head downstairs to cool off. Temperatures can be 10 degrees cooler there than on the main level.
Put a tree in the ground
Strategically selected and planted landscaping cuts how much heat enters your home. For example, tall, full trees that block sunlight on the east and west sides of your home will limit heat gain inside.
Buy a window unit
Spend $200 for a window A/C unit and install it to cool down any room. “A window air conditioner can be a lifesaver,” says Curt Hicks, service manager at Quality Control Plumbing Heating & Air in Indianapolis.
Angie's List Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article that was originally posted on May 28, 2014.
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