The average household spends about $1,000 a year on heating and cooling costs. For most of the year, a substantial amount of your monthly energy bills goes towards temperature regulation. If you want to reduce your cooling costs, you need to think of unconventional ways to keep your home cool without relying on the HVAC system.
To keep your home cool, you need to keep the sun out and keep the interior air cool or conditioned. Here are some ways to achieve this:
1. Adding sealing and insulation
Consider installing foam, blown cellulose, or some other kind of dense insulation in the attic to act as a thermal barrier. Also check your doors, windows, and electrical sockets for any air leaks and seal them with weather-stripping.
2. Increase ventilation
You need to create a suitable plan for opening and closing your windows to keep cool air in and hot air out. On very hot days, it may be better to keep the windows, doors, and shades closed until the temperatures drop. You can use a ceiling fan to improve air circulation, but remember to turn it off when you leave. The fan should circulate anticlockwise for cooling, which can reduce the temperature by up to 5 degrees.
3. Maximise on available shade
Avoid trimming trees that protect your windows, doors, or roof from direct sunlight. You may also install exterior awnings to protect the openings from direct sunlight. For west-facing windows, consider installing sunscreen-fabric curtains, reflective film, or roller shades. For new window installations, choose Energy Star rated panes with a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).
4. Keep your skin and body cool
There are a number of ways to achieve this:
First, you should wear less clothing and choose lightweight and breathable fabrics.
Second, place a cold and wet washcloth around your forehead, neck, or feet when feeling exhausted rather than turning on the AC. Keep the washcloth in the fridge or freezer so it’s ready when you need it.
Third, take cool showers in the late afternoon or evening so you can be cool when going to bed and to conserve water. Even when you bathe early in the day, you will need to shower in the evening because heat is exhausting.
Fourth, eat colder foods such as smoothies, water, fresh fruits, salads, ice cream, etc.
5. Change your cooking patterns
Avoid using the stove or oven in the afternoon or evening to avoid heat buildup inside the house. Alternatively, use your outdoor kitchen to prepare meals.
Lastly, use less internal lights. Light bulbs emit light. So keep them off as much as possible, and use dimmer setting for night lighting.