When it comes to home cooling, many of us won’t hesitate to run our air conditioners around the clock. This is particularly true for those of us who hail from areas that receive warm weather year-round or are known for untenably hot summers.
While a dependable AC system is a necessity in many modern-day households, relying solely on air conditioning stands to increase both your household’s carbon footprint and your monthly utility costs. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to give your AC a break while bringing down your cooling costs and doing right by the environment. Eco-conscious households looking to save money and break their reliance on air conditioning should consider the following tips.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
For years – decades, even – we’ve been told to ditch traditional incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient ones. For one thing, energy-efficient bulbs have considerably longer lifespans than incandescents, making them a much greater bargain despite their slightly higher upfront cost. Secondly, per their name, energy-efficient light bulbs consume far less energy than their incandescent counterparts. To be specific, energy-efficient bulbs consume between 25% to 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and can last between three and 25 times longer.
However, there’s another important reason for homeowners to ditch incandescent bulbs – heat. Traditional light bulbs give off a great deal more heat than energy-efficient bulbs, which can be a considerable hindrance to your home cooling efforts. So, when looking for effective – and eco-conscious – ways to turn your residence into a refreshing oasis from the brutal summer heat, take care to switch out any incandescent bulbs that are currently installed in your various lamps and light fixtures.
Hang Thermal Curtains
Outfitting your home’s windows with thermal curtains can help your cooling efforts in two important ways. For starters, the thick thermal materials these curtains are composed of can effectively minimize the amount of sunlight that’s able to find its way into your home. Since excessive sunlight stands to increase indoor temps – especially during the summer months – you’d do well to limit how much of it you allow inside. Secondly, thermal curtains can help seal in the cool air and prevent warm air from entering. Similarly, during the winter months, thermal curtains can serve to trap warm air and keep cold air at bay. As such, thermal curtains are best viewed as a year-round investment instead of a seasonal one.
If you’re uninterested in replacing your current curtains, blackout screens may be a purchase worth considering. Although they cost less than thermal curtains and are able to block out sunlight, they’re generally not designed to seal in air. Furthermore, blackout screens won’t last nearly as long as well-made thermal curtains and will likely need to be replaced every one to three years. Should you purchase the stick-on variety, just be aware that they generally can’t be reattached to a window after being removed.
Install High-Quality Ceiling Fans
Dependable ceiling fans should be present in every modern-day home. Not only can they work in cooperation with central air conditioning systems, they can also function as effective cooling aids in the absence of AC – especially when their blades have been adjusted to spin counterclockwise. For best results, take care to install at least one ceiling fan in every area of your home, as this will help evenly distribute cool air throughout the entire residence. Additionally, if you’re interested in adding extra light to any area of your home, look into purchasing ceiling fans with lights.
Take Advantage of Nighttime Breezes
If you live in an area that receives comfortably cool overnight temperatures during the summer, why not take full advantage of this? After the sun has set, just switch off the AC, open some windows and allow Mother Nature to cool off your home – with some helpful assistance from your ceiling fans, of course.
As tempting as it can be to blast your AC 24/7 throughout the summer months, this approach to home cooling has numerous drawbacks. For starters, continuously running a central air conditioning system or multiple window units can result in exorbitant utility costs and eat away at your finances. Secondly, excessive AC use isn’t going to make your household’s carbon footprint any smaller. Luckily, cooling your home in an eco-conscious manner can prove simple, cost-effective and extremely gratifying.