Earth is hot right now — and rising energy costs means finding new eco-friendly ways to keep your home cool in the summer. But a few simple steps, such as applying an aluminum coating to windows or reversing the spin of your ceiling fan, can help drastically. Here are nine eco-friendly tips to help you stay cool this summer.
Install ceiling fans
It’s no secret that using ceiling fans is a great way to help keep cool. To cool a room without blasting the air conditioner:
- Set your ceiling fan’s direction counterclockwise to create more circulation.
- If that’s not an option, try an oscillating fan, which has a similar effect by continuously changing the airflow direction.
- Since you’ll probably be using the fans more through the summer, remember to maintain your fan — dust it regularly and check to ensure the fan is still securely fastened to its brackets.
Besides saving on electric bills, you will also benefit from the fresher air and lower carbon dioxide levels.
Keep doors and windows closed
Opening windows during daylight hours lets in unwanted humidity and heat. Ventilate your home either at night or with fans instead. Maybe you think, "If I leave the windows open, the breeze will blow through." On temperate days with low humidity, this trick works. However, if you live in a humid area or the thermometer tops ninety degrees, you let all that sticky, moist, hot air in, which taxes your AC unit. Instead, keep your windows closed, as it will keep the inside of your home somewhat temperate, like a cave.
Keep your HVAC well-maintained
If you must use AC, it’s worth it to schedule a check-up with an HVAC professional. It’s best to schedule these appointments before summer temperatures set in, as technicians will probably get pretty busy through the summer months. Don’t forget to clean around the outdoor units, removing any plants or weeds that like to grow into the units. For the inside, change your filter as recommended to keep your system running at optimum performance when it’s most needed.
Mini-blinds can considerably reduce sun heat gain by blocking excess light and heat that would otherwise be absorbed through windows. Installing mini-blinds is an excellent line of defense. Keep them closed during the hottest parts of the day for best performance.
Apply reflective film to windows
Applying reflective or sun-control film to south-facing windows will effectively reduce solar heat build-up and help filter the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Reflective window tinting lets you see while preventing miscreants from viewing your home’s interior. And as a bonus, this film helps prevent fading and sun damage to furniture, fabrics, and flooring.
Use blackout curtains
Besides ensuring a great night’s rest, blackout curtains are fantastic at keeping a home’s temperature steady. Keep these curtains closed in any room that gets direct sunlight. Use blackout curtains for the windows that receive the most sunlight and close them before you leave each morning to save money and the planet.
Turn off and unplug unused lights and devices
Did you know those electronic devices that are plugged in generate unnecessary heat? This is bad news both for you and the planet. If you’re not using them, unplug them. Use a power strip to turn off multiple electronics at once. This will make it much easier to unplug devices and chargers when not in use.
Leave dishwashing until later in the evening, and choose no-cook or crockpot meals on hot days. Outdoor solar ovens are an excellent hot-weather alternative to conventional ones. Running the oven and even using the stove can heat your kitchen quickly. If you have a smaller apartment, it could raise the temperature of your indoors significantly. Since summer is the grilling season, take your cooking outside. Cooking outdoors also allows for socializing with friends and family and enjoying the fresh air.
Diffuse cold water
If your home is particularly humid, use cold water and a few drops of essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser. This will cool you down and purify the air. Fill an aromatherapy diffuser up with cold water and add a few drops of essential oil. We suggest peppermint essential oil because when it is diffused into the air, its menthol property can trigger and activate the receptors in your body responsible for feeling cold. You can also apply a drop (diluted with water) to the back of your neck for an extra cooling effect.
As summer continues to beat us with grueling temperatures, we’re all struggling to find ways to stay cool in our homes. But remember, blasting the AC can hike up your utility bills, and it’s not an environmentally conscious solution either. But there are some great and creative ways to stay cool while keeping your pocketbook and carbon footprint in check. We’re all looking forward to cooler temperatures, indeed, but until then, stay cool and stay green.