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Inexpensive Cooling Strategies for the Thrifty Homeowner
July 19, 2018
It’s that time of year that many homeowners in Westchester and Putnam Counties dread. Those monthly utility bills are getting higher, the second floor is getting hotter, and the entire home feels more humid every day. If only you could keep your home cool without having to crank up the air conditioning or buy a new air conditioner.
Luckily, you can. As home comfort and efficiency experts, we’re here to help you find ways to keep your home cooler without any major expenses.
Open Your Windows
Did you know that there’s an art to opening your windows and creating a natural breeze inside your home? It’s a technique referred to as cross ventilation or natural ventilation. But before you open your windows, make sure to turn off your air conditioning system. Did your Dad ever ask you “What are we trying to do, air condition the whole neighborhood?”(You don’t want to pay to condition air that is headed straight outside!).
To create a natural indoor breeze, first determine where the outside wind is hitting your home. Then, open the windows on the lower floor of this side of the house. If you have double-hung windows, open the bottom sashes. Then, go upstairs and open the top sashes of the windows on the opposite side of the house. Opening the windows at the lowest and highest points of your home will invite cool, breezy air in and push rising heat out.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans cost less to run than traditional AC systems, and they can reduce your reliance on your air conditioner significantly. In fact, when you run a ceiling fan in conjunction with air conditioning, you can raise your thermostat by 4 degrees while experiencing the same amount of comfort in a particular room. That’s means major utility bill savings — especially when you consider the Department of Energy’s estimate that each degree below 78°F on your thermostat increases your cooling bill by 8%.
One thing to keep in mind: make sure you run the ceiling fan only in those rooms that you’re currently using. Ceiling fans are designed to keep you — not rooms — cool.
Cool Your Bed with Your Freezer
No, we aren’t talking about fitting your whole mattress in the freezer, or rigging up some kind of weird hose system from your refrigerator to your bedroom! But for those especially hot nights, try sticking your sheets in the freezer and putting them on the bed just before you turn in. Your bed will stay cooler for longer, helping you sleep better in that hot bedroom.
Consider Smart Home Performance Upgrades
If you are ready to invest in a home upgrade that offers high ROI and energy saving benefits year-round, scheduling an energy audit will help you determine which improvements will most cost-effectively keep your New York home cool.
After assessing your house, your home performance expert might recommend air sealing and insulation to better keep the summer heat out. Or, they may recommend installing a ductless mini-split (or split air conditioner) in a particularly hard-to-cool room, letting you run your central air conditioning system less. Our experts can help you determine if insulation or a split AC unit is right for you.