It’s hot out there. In fact, July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded. The summer isn’t over yet, so try these strategies to keep your home in the Carolinas cool. Doing so will not only add comfort at home but can help you cut your air conditioning costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
“Last month more than 6.5 billion people, or 81 percent of the human population, experienced heat that was at least three times more likely in a world with climate change than without it,” according to Climate Central researchers.
If you don’t already have them, install and use ceiling fans in the rooms you spend the most time in. Make sure the ceiling fan rotates counterclockwise (when looking up at it) to create a downward airflow that can help cool your skin. By using fans along with your AC, you can set the thermostat a few degrees higher and still maintain a comfortable environment.
You can also place oscillating fans or box fans throughout the house in areas where you don’t have ceiling fans. By placing pans strategically near windows to draw in cooler air or opposite windows to push hot air out, you can create a wind tunnel effect. You might also place fans near doorways to circulate air between rooms.
At the same time, use fans wisely. Running a fan in an empty room wastes electricity as fans only cool people not the actual air.
Setting your thermostat really low doesn’t change your air conditioner’s capacity to cool your house. Trying to get your house cooled to 60 degrees on a really hot day will keep your system running continuously, but it may not actually get to 60. All you’re doing is adding stress on the power network and shortening the life cycle of your AC system.
Instead, academic studies suggest that people report feeling comfortable indoors between 71 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. When you’re out of the house, you could set it even five to 10 degrees higher than comfortable for you to save on cooling costs and system effort.
Investing in programmable or smart thermostats can allow you to adjust the temperature based on your schedule, optimizing energy usage and comfort.
Regular HVAC system maintenance can also help to ensure it operates efficiently and effectively year round.
If the air is hot outside, opening your windows only makes it harder to keep the house cool. At night, it may cool off enough to justify opening your windows. If you do, remember to close them again when the sun comes out.
Closing blinds and curtains during the hottest parts of the day (usually the middle of the day) can block out the sun and prevent it warming up your home. Reflective window film can also help reduce the amount of heat that enters your home through the windows.
While closing your windows, blinds, and curtains, keep your interior doors open. This helps with air flow, which can eliminate hot spots in your home.
Houseplants inside your windows can help lower the temperature in your home. The plants will absorb some of the sun streaming in the windows that would otherwise heat up the house.
It also helps to plant trees or install awnings around your house to provide natural shade. This can reduce the amount of direct sunlight that reaches your home. While planning your outdoor space, consider this round-up of the right plants for a summer garden in the Carolinas.
Avoiding heat-generating activities during the hottest hours of the day can help keep your Carolinas home cooler. Plus, you’ll be putting less burden on the power supply. Try to wait and use ovens and dryers in the cooler evening hours.
Stepping outside to grill to make meals can also help when the temperatures soar. Further, opting for energy-efficient appliances when you need to replace appliances can also make a difference.
We’ve written in the past about homeowner maintenance for every season. Start by ensuring that your home is properly insulated. Pay particular attention to attics, walls, and crawl spaces and seal any air leaks around doors, windows, and other openings to keep the cool air inside and prevent warm air infiltration.
Using incandescent bulbs can generate more heat than LED or CFL bulbs, so consider switching to energy-efficient lighting options when you change out your lights.
Another option is to prefer lighter colors. Light-colored roofs, walls, and furniture better reflect sunlight and absorb less heat, keeping your home cooler.
Combining these strategies can offer you a cooler and more comfortable living environment. At the same time, you may cut your demand on the power grid, which helps counter the climate change that is wreaking havoc on temperatures globally.