Summer is a time for taking it easy, lounging by the water and day drinking. But there's a downside too. And that usually involves intense heat and swampy humidity. You know, the real dog days of summer, where it's heard to get comfortable in your own home. But with a few simple, low-cost adjustments, you can beat the heat and (bonus) keep your bills down.
Keep unnecessary sun out.
Before leaving the house for the day, lower the blinds and close the drapes, which can reduce indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees during the hottest parts of the day.
No AC? Spritz curtains with water.
Damp curtains and an open widow. It's an old trick that cools incoming breezes with the evaporating water.
Mind the dishwasher.
The washing and drying cycle can create a lot of heat, so only run the dishwasher when it's full and do it at night when the air is cooler. You can also skip the drying cycle and let them air dry.
Unplug at night.
Gadgets and other small appliances can give off warmth, even when turned off. Keep heat at bay and save energy by unplugging the appliances when not in use (or once gadgets are charged).
Boost your home's
Clean or change out your furnace filter and make sure the vents and return-air grill are clear of dust and debris. The result? More cold air and less strain on the AC's motor. If you have a window unit, close off the room you're using to keep the cool air from escaping.
Adjust ceiling fan settings so the blades run counter-clockwise (at a high speed), which will pull hot air up and away from you. If you don't have air conditioning, point a box fan out the window so it pushes the hot air out and draws fresh, cool air in from the other windows.
Seal off leaks.
Small, scattered leaks around your home lets hot outdoor air slowly seep into your cool house and can increase indoor temps up to 20%. Plug up vulnerable leaks with caulk or spray-foam applied to areas around doors, windows and concrete foundations.