Try these smart tips for avoiding your air conditioner’s “on” button to save money and go easy on the environment, all while maintaining your chill.
Using fans correctly is key. Ceiling fans should rotate counter-clockwise in the summer, to generate a cooling breeze, and should be turned off when no one’s in the room. Fit box fans tightly into windows and direct hot air out, not in.
Close drapes, lower shades and pull blinds to block the sun and it’s accompanying heat. The U.S. Department of Energy says that highly reflective blinds, for example, closed over a sunny window can reduce heat gain by about 45 percent*. Adjusting blinds to reflect sunlight onto a light-colored ceiling helps, too.
Drink lots of water and other chilly, refreshing drinks. Stock your fridge with damp washcloths, and regularly drape one on your neck, adding a drop or two of peppermint or lavender essential oil, if you like. Pour ice cubes into a relaxing footbath. Eat popsicles.
One of the many reasons to whip up refreshing salads and pack sandwich picnics this time of year is not having to turn on the oven or stove and heat up your home. If you must cook something, use the microwave instead. Better yet, grill out.
Accommodate any breezes, letting them travel through one open window and out another. And if you live someplace where it cools off at night, open windows while you sleep. In two-story homes, take advantage of the fact that heat rises and crack the downstairs windows on the breezy or shady side of the home and upper-floor windows on the hottest side, so the cooler air flows in and drives hot air up and out.
Swap out those heat-generating incandescent bulbs for more efficient options, such as CFLs and LEDs, and keep them off as often as you can. Only run full loads of clothes and dishes, and air-dry, if possible. Keep all appliance use, including hair dryers and TVs, to a minimum.
Wondering if turning your AC on might be worth it? Find out how to decide whether or not to open your windows here