It's A Kean World

BEAT THE HEAT?

Almost everyone has air conditioning in their homes, but not everyone can afford to set the temperature at 68 while cooking their favorite pasta.  And for the purpose of this article we will assume that you are not going to have a professional energy monitor recommend thousands of dollars in improvements to make your home more energy efficient.  So we are left with what the average person, struggling to get by, can do to survive the summer heat without breaking the bank.

 Some of these suggestions are rather retro.  After all, people used to get by without any form of air conditioning.  Our objective is not to survive outside in 100 degree weather, but to make our homes comfortable with the least possible use of the air conditioner.  We will save money, save wear and tear on the AC unit and maybe even help the environment.

 1.  Pull down the shades or close the blinds on the side of your house facing the sun.  The objective is to keep out the sun’s heat, but not necessarily the indirect light.  So, in the morning leave windows on the west side of your home uncovered.  Throughout the day you will need to raise or lower shades depending upon how the sun strikes you home.  This is one simple step that actually will help your air conditioner keep you comfortable.         

 2.  Turn on the fans.  Ceiling fans are a great way to let you set the thermostat a bit warmer while keeping you feeling comfortable.  But drag out all of your fans and use them.  Remember that a fan does little or no good if you are not in the room where the fan is running.  So, turn on the fans when you are in the room and off when you leave.  Using fans in conjunction with your air conditioner will save you money and keep you more comfortable. 

 3.  Turn off all appliances and lights not necessary for your comfort.  You might be amazed at how much heat is generated by lights.  Even the energy efficient lights put out some heat.  If you have several televisions and DVD players or similar devices, make certain they are turned all the way off.  Unplug or use a power strip to make certain these appliances are completely off.  It won’t make a big difference but these devices use electricity and emit heat.  Every little bit counts.

 4.  Change your schedule.  Start your day early for physical activity including cooking.  Of course it would be best not to cook at all, but if needed do it early in the day.  Also do as much cleaning, washing etc. that you can in the coolest part of the day.  Use of appliances such as crock pots instead of an oven can also help. 

 Those used to dealing with high temperatures know that the hottest part of the day, generally mid to late afternoon, is the time to rest, read or nap.  It is also a great time to enjoy a glass of iced tea or lots of cold water. 

 Another thing to learn from people used to the heat is; don’t be in a hurry.  Moving slower keeps your body from generating extra heat.  If you don’t believe me, remember that people who live in warmer climates are generally considered to be more laid back.

 5.  Turn up the temperature on your air conditioning unit.  Of course this is the key to saving money.  If you are away from home most of the day, leave the shades drawn, turn off everything you can and leave the temperature a few degrees warmer than if you were at home.  Having a timer to cool down the house about the time you arrive is certainly a good thing.

 In summary:  pull down; turn on; turn off; change schedule; turn up.    

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