You may not be able to control the weather, but you can moderate its impact upon your home. Summer's frying, vice-like heat can envelope a building's exterior, raising the interior temperature to uncomfortable levels. Don't like to fry? You can significantly, and simply, reduce its impact by following these simple steps.
Lower the Shades – You can opt to close the windows for the entire day to keep heat out, but if you miss the scent of fresh summer air or the sound of birds, you can still cool your house down without going that drastic. Survey your home to determine when the sun's rays hit the hardest and keep your shades and windows closed during that time, particularly if your windows face east or west. White window shades are an added cooling plus, as darker colors will absorb more heat. If you wish to use indoor air conditioning sparingly, this would be the best time of day to turn it on, using an energy-efficient setting. And, if you use a ceiling fan in conjunction with your air conditioning unit, you will increase the cool air flow and circulation considerably.
Don't Increase the Heat Load – You know that cooking creates a greater heat load in the house, but appliances such as washing machines, dryers and dish washers also generate a considerable amount of hot air, making it tough to cool the house down for hours after they have stopped running. Keep appliances off during the day whenever possible and if you must turn on the gas range or oven, do so only during the coolest times of day.
Ventilate – Take advantage of cooler days by utilizing window fans. To maximize their cooling ability, keep all of your interior doors open and the fans situated on your house's downwind side, facing out. When the heat returns, close the windows again, trapping the cooler air inside.
Insulate – Make sure your home is well-insulated around windows, doors and crawl spaces. Don't forget to double check the insulation around air ducts in the basement and attic, as well as any other areas of the home which may be letting heat in. You may not be thinking much about your fireplace during the summer, but if it's not airtight, it may be letting outdoor heat leak inside as well.
Get Shady – Planting trees able to cast large shadows on the eastern and western sides of your house will significantly cool your home's interior, if you are able to invest the time it takes for them to grow. Keep in mind that even small trees generate breezes, so you will experience some heat relief immediately upon planting.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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