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Monday, April 13, 2009

More Summer Time Tips for Greater Energy Efficiency

Here are additional recommendations for beating high utility bills in the warm summer months.

Weatherstrip around your air-conditioning unit. This helps keep the cool air inside where it belongs, and the hot air outside. Also, weatherstrip windows and doors. If hot air leaks in through poorly caulked windows and doors, your air conditioning unit will have to work harder to compensate.

When installing shades and drapes on your windows, stick to light colors. White and other light colors reflect heat...away from your the interior part of your home. During the daylight hours, close shades and curtains on any windows that face the south, or the west. Daylight during the afternoon hours, 3 p.m. or thereabouts, is typically the hottest part of the day.

Can you afford window awnings? If you don't have any awnings and think you can afford them, install them on the windows facing the south and the west.

Use fans to circulate the interior air. Adjust the air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees, unless you have a medical condition that requires that you have a cooler environment. (Do use the air conditioner...for many people, especially the elderly or sick, air conditioning is a matter of life or death!)

Visit a designated community cooling center. In many parts of the country, local governments, utilities, and senior organizations create air-conditioned spaces for local residents to go to when the heat becomes unbearable. These are open to public on the really, really hot days.

If you have no air conditioning, and need a place to cool off, or if you can't afford to run your air conditioner on those deadly high-degree days, visit a local cooling center. To find the cooling center closest to you, contact your local government or utility, and listen for announcements about center locations on the radio or television.

If a cooling center does not appear to be nearby, consider visiting the local library or an air-conditioned indoor shopping center. Movie theaters also offer relief...provided you can afford the cost of a movie ticket and you can find a movie you'd like to see.

1 comment:

  1. Nice tip about the community cooling centers - I didn't know about those :-)

    I'm not so sure I agree with recommending awnings for the west facing windows, though. They'll certainly provide a little shade, but only while the Sun is high up in the sky.

    For the most part of the evening, when the heat is usually the worst, the Sun will be too low in the sky for an awning above west facing windows to provide any decent shading. The later in the evening, the closer to the horizon the Sun will be, shining in an increasingly horizontal angle at your windows.

    A vertical window covering is a lot more effective for west facing windows; like curtains or blinds. Preferrably outside the window, rather than inside. They'll block the direct Sun in the evening, and are easily drawn aside in the night and morning to let light and fresh, cooler air in.

    There's also a whole bunch of other stuff you can do to keep your house cool in the summer, while cutting the airconditioning bill. I'm writing a mini series about this on my blog: