There are many ways to lower your home’s cooling costs during the brutal heat of summer. The cost of electricity continues to go up every summer, and a few, key changes around your home can save you a significant amount of money every month.
One of the first things you can do is shade your windows, particularly the south and west-facing glass. You can accomplish this with insulated window treatments, such as heavy drapes or shutters. You can also take it a step further with exterior shade screens. These screens allow you to see out, while shading the glass from the sun. Addressing the issue of heat gain through your windows will not only reduce your energy costs, but also add value to your home.
Your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to work efficiently throughout the hot summer months. Maintaining your air conditioner will ensure its performance, reducing your energy costs. Some maintenance can easily be done by you, such as changing and cleaning the filters. However, other air conditioner maintenance, such as cleaning the coils or condensation drains are best done by a professional. Companies like Edelman Inc that focus on HVAC systems are best able to give comprehensive maintenance and detect issues, as opposed to a general handyman.
Your landscaping can provide much-needed shade, which will reduce heat gain and thus, reduce your energy bills. You can plant fast-growing shade trees, such as hybrid poplar, red maple, weeping willow, American sycamore, or paper birch. However, while these trees grow faster than most, it will still take years for them to grow to a height that will provide shade.
You can also place trellises along the walls of your house, and grow vines. However, choose climbing plants that will not be destructive top your home; some vines can cling to the sides of your house, and tear up wood or vinyl siding. Climbing roses, trumpet vine, Virginia creeper, or even grapevines can shade the exterior walls of your home.
Choose interior lighting that doesn’t use much energy or add heat to your home. LED lighting not only uses far less energy than incandescent bulbs, but they also run cool. Also, avoid using your oven during the afternoon hours, and plan to cook easy, fast dinners, such as a cool salad. You can also cook outside; your family will relish a barbecued meal.
These are just a few ways to not only reduce your energy costs, but also to increase the value of your home.