There’s nothing to make you lose your cool like opening the power bill and seeing just how much energy you’ve used to stay comfortable during the hot and muggy summer months. However, you don’t have to let the heat get to you if you want to save money and the Earth. There are many greener and cheaper ways to keep from breaking into a sweat. Here are 20.
Published July 12, 2017, Updated July 18, 2021
1. Close the Blinds and Curtains
When the sun shines through your windows, it heats up your house as if it’s a greenhouse. In summer, keep the blinds and curtains closed to keep those rays out. This is especially important for south-facing windows that receive more direct sunlight.
2. Know When to Open the Windows
If you open the windows during the hottest part of a windless day, you’ll just let the warm air in and heat up your house. Wait until late afternoon or early evening, when the night breeze will cool things down.
3. Open the Right Windows
If you open windows on opposite sides of the house, it will create a draft which lets cool air circulate through. Another trick is to open lower windows to let the cool air in and higher windows to let the warm air out.
4. Open the Doors
Keep interior doors open so that the cooler air can circulate through your house. When you close off a room by closing the door, it will trap the heat inside that room.
5. Ditch the Incandescent Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs not only use more energy but also emit more heat. Replace your old bulbs with energy-efficient LED or CFL lights and turn them on only when you need them.
Your electronics generate heat as they use electricity, even when they’re not actively in use. When you’re not using them, unplug them.
7. Put Ice in Front of the Fan
Make a low-tech, more energy-efficient air-conditioning system by placing a bowl of ice or an ice pack in front of the fan, as Apartment Therapy suggests. The bowl should be tilted towards the fan so that the moving air hits the ice and gets cooled before being circulated around the room.
8. Reset Your Ceiling Fan
The Simple Dollar suggests that you check the settings on your ceiling fan. In summer, you want the fan on a high speed and blowing the air directly down.
9. Use Cotton Sheets
They may be a little more expensive, but 100% cotton sheets are more breathable and cooler than ones with a polyester blend. They will feel cool against your skin, reducing the need for energy-guzzling air-conditioning or a fan, and have the added bonus that they’re super luxurious.
10. Cool Your Bed
Put some water in a spray bottle and spritz the sheets for extra coolness before you get into bed. You can also cool your bed by filling a hot-water bottle with ice water and leaving it between the sheets.
11. Don’t Cook During the Day
Using the stove and oven during the day will only create extra heat when you least need it. Wait until the cooler night-time hours to cook and opt for non-cook meals such as salads and sandwiches during the day.
12. Fire Up the Grill
Instead of heating up your kitchen, take your cooking outside. Fire up the grill and enjoy the outdoor summer air while keeping your house cool.
13. Get Insulated
Good insulation is not just for winter. If you have proper insulation, especially in the attic or roof space, it will keep the summer heat from penetrating through the walls and roof into your home.
14. Caulk and Weatherstrip
Like good insulation, caulking and weatherstripping will keep warm air from escaping from your house in winter. In summer, it has the opposite effect, keeping warm air out and cool air in.
15. Choose Light Paint Colours
Lighter colours reflect heat rather than absorb it. To give your home a summer makeover, paint the exterior walls in light, cool colours.
16. Get a Metal Roof
Consider getting a metal roof for your home, since metal is a good reflector of heat. Remember though that without good ceiling insulation, a metal roof can turn your house into an oven.
17. Plant Vines
Vines such as ivy grow quickly and will cool your house in two ways: by keeping the sun from hitting – and heating – the walls and through evapotranspiration. In winter, they lose their leaves and the sunlight can warm your house.
18. Plant for Shade
Shrubs and trees that are positioned in such a way that they will cast shade over your house and block the sun from directly entering windows will have a naturally cooling effect. However, opt for plants that can easily be cut back or will lose their leaves in winter, when you want to avoid shade and let more sunshine in.
19. Install Awnings
Awnings are another way of shading your house and keeping the sun’s heat out. Choose a type that you can simply roll or fold back in winter.
20. Install Shutters
Shutters are a great way to keep the sun out. If you open the windows and close the shutters, they’ll also provide ventilation. They have the added benefits that they provide storm protection and privacy.