Who isn’t looking for ways to save money these days? With inflation, that’s getting harder. But it’s still possible to cut costs – especially heating and cooling costs.
You can do a lot by blocking the sun from beating down on your house and into your windows. Reduce your dependence on air conditioning, or conserve heat, by running ceiling fans. Close up drafts in your house and avoid using the stove or oven during the day. Get a programmable thermostat, and adjust it when you’re not at home.
Block Sun from Coming in Your Windows
You can keep your home much cooler, with less dependence on air conditioning, if you block the sun from coming in through the windows in the summer. Seventy-six percent of the sunlight streaming through your windows is coming in as heat. You lose about 30 percent of your home’s heating and cooling energy through the windows.
You have some options for covering them. Solar screens on the outside of the windows are the best for blocking heat and UV rays from coming into the house. You can also install window films on your window glass to keep out heat and UV rays. You can install shutters or awnings on the outside of your windows to keep the sun out. To keep heat inside in the winter, hang drapes.
Grow Some Shade Around Your House
Much of the heat that comes into a house comes through the sun beating down on the roof and walls. That’s why it’s important to have adequate insulation in your walls and attic, but it’s also a good reason to plant some trees or trellised vines outside your house to generate shade. Plant tall trees on the south side of your house, and leafy trees on the west and east sides. If you can’t or don’t want to grow trees, plant shrubs and trellised vines alongside of your house to at least generate some shade.
Use Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans can reduce your energy consumption drastically without making you feel any hotter. A ceiling fan can make it feel four degrees cooler in a room just by creating a breeze. That means you can turn your thermostat up higher in the summer and enjoy more energy savings, while still being perfectly comfortable! In the winter, you can save up to 15 percent on your heating by running your fan blades in a clockwise direction. This pushes warm air down from the ceiling so it can benefit you.
If you don’t have ceiling fans, they’re easy to install. You can even buy ceiling fans with lights if you don’t want to sacrifice your light fixture.
Get a Programmable Thermostat
You can set a programmable thermostat to automatically turn the temperature in your home up or down, depending on whether you’re at home and active, asleep, or out for the day. By setting your thermostat seven to ten degrees higher when you’re out at work for the day, you can save up to 10 percent on your cooling costs in the summer. In the winter, set your thermostat for a lower temperature and have it begin heating up the house right before you get home.
Close Up Drafts
Hot and cool air can escape from your house through drafts, so it’s worth looking for these air leaks. They’re common around windows and doors, but also in places you wouldn’t expect, such as where the foundation and the siding connect. To look for leaks, close all your windows, and turn off all exhaust fans and ceiling fans in your house. Turn off the air conditioner or furnace. Light a stick of incense, and walk around the outer walls of your house. Where you see the incense smoke sucked towards something or blown away from something, that’s where you have an air leak. Seal up drafts as appropriate.
Avoid Using Heat-Generating Appliances
To keep your home cool in summer, you should avoid using heat-generating appliances, like the oven, stove, clothes dryer, or dishwasher, during the day. Instead, use them at night when you can open the windows to allow the heat to dissipate (and cool night air to rush in). Replace incandescent bulbs with LED ones – they won’t give off heat inside your house.
Things may be costing more these days, but you can still save money on heating and cooling costs. Take the time to make your home naturally cooler and better insulated, so you don’t have to worry about huge energy bills.