With sweltering temperatures in the South well into the upper 80’s right on through September, the need to beat the heat continues to be a very real struggle for homeowners from the city streets of Hotlanta to the riverfront in Raleigh. To help you keep your cool through the remainder of summer, Paran Homes – well known for our energy efficient measures and dedication to the comfort of our homeowners – has compiled the following list of 10 Hottest Tips for Beating the Heat at Home…
- Have your HVAC System Regularly Maintained: Regular maintenance of your air conditioning unit – typically in the Spring, just ahead of higher temperature months – will help prolong its lifespan and improve efficiency. Be sure to have the ducts checked for leaks, which the U.S. Department of Energy indicates can reduce a system’s efficiency by as much as 15 percent.
- Keep Your Condenser Coils Clean: Be sure to clean the area around outdoor condenser coils by removing debris, trimming foliage and pulling weeds so there are at least two feet around the condenser for airflow. You might want to consider adding white marble chips around the units to deter future weed growth and aid in controlling water buildup.
- Add Programmable Thermostats: A programmable thermostat makes it easy to control the temperature in your home throughout the day – effectively increasing energy efficiency. Many programmable thermostats can store and repeat six or more temperature settings a day – but allow for you to manually override when needed. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting – like when you are sleeping or away at the office.
- Replace AC Filters Once a Month: As the name would suggest, AC filters “filter” out impurities in the air to keep them from getting into your AC unit. Included among these contaminants are pet dander, dust, pollen and more. Unfortunately, these particles can build up on the filter – keeping it from performing at optimal levels. Replacing these filters regularly helps keep your AC unit functioning properly. Did you know you can lower energy use by 5%-15% by replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one?
- Go Natural: On those blessedly cool evenings and early mornings, consider flipping your thermostat to the off position and open a few windows for natural ventilation. This will bring some cool, fresh air into the home while giving your AC unit a well-deserved rest – potentially prolonging its lifespan.
- Invest in Blackout Curtains: Blackout curtains not only block sunlight from entering a room, they also help block the heat. While you may not want to keep these up year-round, it might be wise to place them in the rooms that receive the most “heat of the day” sunlight to help control temperatures. But don’t take our word for it, the U.S. Department of Energy claims that this measure could potentially reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by 45%.
- Make Sure Your Home is Air-Tight: While measuring your windows for curtains, be sure to spend a little extra time inspecting the seals on each to make sure they are air-tight and not letting warm air into your home unnecessarily. If you do find an air leak, seal it with caulk or weather stripping. Do the same for all of your doors.
- Select Ceiling Fans that are Properly Sized for each Room: It’s common sense, really… the larger the room, the larger the fan blade length on your ceiling fan. When properly sized, a good ceiling fan will help circulate the air and keep your favorite living spaces cool.
- Time for a Backyard Barbecue: When possible, opt to cook dinner outdoors on the grill so your indoor appliances aren’t adding to the heat factor inside your home. Your other household appliances – such as your washer, dryer and dishwasher – give off heat as well, so try to avoid using them during the hottest times of the day.
- It’s Good to Be a Little Shady: While it’s too late to reap the benefits this summer, if you begin planting shade trees during optimal planting season – you may be able to enjoy their benefits next summer or the summer after. Some of the best shade tree suggestions for Southern climates include Bald Cypress, Chinese Dogwood, Gingko, River Birch, and a Variety of Oaks, among others – according to University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension.
Keep your cool a little while longer! Summer officially ends on September 22, bringing the return of another glorious Fall season to the South. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog from Paran Homes filled with tips on how to heat your home in the months to come!
Sources: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-and-cool and http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C1013&title=Shade%20Trees%20for%20Georgia