5 Way to Keep Cool Without Hiking Your Electric Bill

Save energy this summer. It’s easy to keep your house cool without blowing up your electric bill. Employing a few basic environmentally friendly principals will help keep you cool and save money.

1. Install Awnings

The idea here is that awnings over the windows keep heat out of the house, reducing the need for cooling. The awnings work best on the sides of the house that get the most direct sunlight. Not a bad idea, and pretty low tech. You can limit the cost of this option by only installing awnings on the windows with the most exposure.

2. Plant Vines

This tip is a little controversial, since some sources say that climbing vines can damage the exterior surface of a building over time. Also, you have to consider that the vines will change the appearance of your house significantly. But I suppose that you could use a trellis on the sunniest side of the house to hold the vines. The idea here is that vines shade the house and also cool by transpiration, by the evaporation of water from the leaves.

3. Plant a Tree

Trees and vines can reduce the heat gain of the house from the sun. They say the southern and western sides of the house are the best locations. The western side is preferable to the eastern side because the hottest part of the day is when the sun is to the west, rather than the east. In the morning, when the sun is to the east, the environment is still cool from the evening. In the afternoon, the day is hotter

4. Open Windows Strategically

If you have windows that you can open, do so only when it is cooler outside than in. But don’t just throw them all wide open. While that may seem like the way to get the most air movement, it often isn’t. Take advantage of the fact that hot air rises (think hot-air balloon), and create a natural draft by opening downstairs windows on the shady side of the house, and upstairs windows on the hot side of the house. Increase this natural flow by putting a portable window-mounted fan in the upstairs window.If there is any natural breeze, “tune” your windows to work with it: Open downstairs windows on the side of the house the wind is hitting, and upstairs windows on the side of the house away from the wind. As the wind swoops over and around your house, it actually decreases the air pressure on the far side, and that lower pressure will pull hot air out of your home.

5. Insulate Your Attic

A well-insulated attic, especially when an attic ventilating fan is used, is one of the best ways to keep heat out of your home.The fewer air leaks and the more insulation you have, the easier it will be to keep your house cool in the summer (and warm in the winter). Sealing air leaks is often inexpensive and pays off fast in lower energy bills.

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