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There are so many things to love about summertime, whether it be backyard BBQs, pool time, enjoying a cold beverage on the patio, or playing a game of croquet on the back lawn. After all that fun outdoor time in the heat, you need to keep your house cool without breaking the bank. St. Louis summers bring with them unwavering heat that can cause your utility bills to skyrocket during the months of June, July, and August. Here are a few tips to keep your home cooler this summer without your energy bills getting out of hand.
Having large windows that allow in a lot of natural light is a selling point for any home, but the more sunlight that shines in your home, the faster it’s going to heat up. During the summer months, it’s best to use window coverings that’ll block out that sun during the hotter times of the day, especially in the rooms that face west and south. Some window treatments to consider are blackout curtains, thermal shades, or interior shutters. The heavier the material, the cooler your home will stay, so avoid choosing anything thin or shear.
If you aren’t a fan of keeping all of your window treatments closed, consider creating some external shade. If you live in a home with large trees surrounding it, you already have that external shade to keep your home cool. If not, there are a few things you can do such as installing a sun shade, adding some lattice or awnings, or even hanging some umbrellas above your windows. It may also be a good idea to get those trees planted for the future.
Seal It Up
This tip is beneficial in summer and winter and really just needs a bit of maintenance once it’s completed the first time. Seal up all of those cracks and crannies where the air may be coming in. A small crack may seem as though it won’t do much damage but if you add up all of the small leaks, it’ll be apparent that air is coming in whether it be hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Check the caulking around your window frames, install weather stripping to your doors, plug up any small holes along your baseboards, and close the flue to your fireplace. In doing all this, you can ensure that your cool air will stay in and the hot air will stay out.
Change Your Cooking Habits
While we all love some fresh baked cookies, baking in the summertime is a sure way to heat the house up quickly. Change up your cooking routine and your menu during the summer month. Avoid baking, braising, or boiling your food during the hottest time of the day, use the BBQ or crockpot instead of the range, or opt for some cold meals such as salads or sandwiches. Remember, heating the house up during the summer is much easier than cooling it down, so make some homemade ice cream in lieu of those chocolate chip cookies.
Anything requiring electricity will generate heat, so only plug something in if it’s being put to use. There’s no need to leave your blender plugged in, so only plug it in when it’s time to make a milkshake or smoothie. Same goes for your blow dryer, lamps in your unused guest room, your toaster, chargers, etc. In addition to this energy-saving practice, try to hold off on chores that require an appliance until the evening. Your washing machine and dryer generate quite a bit of heat, so why not wait until the sun is setting to start the laundry? Your dishwasher also generates warmth, so wait to run it until after dinner and you’ll wake up to sparkling clean dishes in the morning.
It’s absolutely okay to treat yourself to some air conditioning during the sweltering summer months, but the last thing you want to do is overwork your HVAC unit. By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to keep your home cooler naturally, leaving less work for your good old AC to do. Tell us how you are staying cool this summer.