Without having to resort to installing an air conditioner in every room, turning your house into a summer igloo, or moving deep into a cave in order to escape the summer heat, plenty of options are available for low cost ways to save money while staying cool and conserving energy in the summer months.
The best defense your home can have is insulation. This bears repeating: The best defense your home can have is insulation! Proper insulation means air conditioning won’t seep through the cracks in the doors, windows or through the roof of the house. (Green roofs are excellent for insulation and conserving energy, however, their installation costs put it well out of reach for most folks.) A half-foot of insulation is the recommended minimum in order to prevent a significant leak in your room; if you have to splurge on one energy-saving item this summer, this should be it.
Make sure you check and clean filters monthly and replace when needed. Weather stripping is significantly cheaper and a spool or two of tape should cover most of the windows in your home and help to mitigate the loss of air conditioning. Covering any exposed ducts, conduits or walls will also minimize AC loss as well.
Fans are an excellent way to cool the house down without breaking the bank. According to the Mother Nature Network, “Having fans in your house allows you to program your thermostat up to 4 degrees higher because of the air circulation they provide” (www.mnn.com). Fans can also be used to synthesize air conditioning for those without: simply freeze a bottle of water, usually 1-2 liters works best, and place it behind the fan. It may also help to shut off or close any vents to rooms that aren’t being used anymore, such as rooms whose owners are away at school or camp.
Any room the sun can get into the heat can too. Close curtains and blinds on rooms when possible or not in use; do the same for turning off the light to rooms not in use, this will save energy as well. You can also raise the temperature on your thermostat while you are out of the house for extended periods of time. No sense wasting the cooling on an empty house.
The same goes for your appliances. They generate constant electricity so make sure you not only shut them off, but cut their power if and when you can. Also, as the thermostat is a sensitive instrument, keep any heat-generating appliances, stoves, computers, etc. away from it; the added heat will only force it to work harder.
It will also help to do any heat producing tasks such as using the oven or doing laundry at night or when the day has cooled down. Hanging your laundry to dry on a line outside is a fantastic strategy for going green and to conserve energy by using precisely what you’re trying to protect yourself from, the sun.
About the author: Lindsay Parrich has worked as a freelance writer for many years and has covered a wide array of topics including economics and alternative energy. When she’s not writing, you can find her reviewing products for companies such as Bird-X or playing her favorite game, racquetball.