Most people know that installing energy-efficient windows is the best way to keep a house cool. But as the following list shows, there are several low-tech things you can do today to stay cool and save money as well.
• Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible. The less the difference is between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
• Use a programmable thermostat with your air conditioner to adjust the setting at night or when no one is home.
• Don’t set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It won’t cool your home any faster, and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary expense.
• Don’t place lamps or TVs near your air conditioner’s thermostat. The heat from these appliances will cause the air conditioner to run longer.
• Consider installing ceiling fans. Use ceiling or room fans even if you have an air conditioner. You can then set your thermostat higher because the air movement from the fan will help the room feel cooler.
• Keep your refrigerator well stocked. Refrigerators that are full of food don’t warm up as quickly when the door is opened, so they require less energy to stay cool.
• Use windows and window coverings to your advantage. Sunny windows make air conditioners work two to three times harder. Close curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day. Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.
• Weatherize: Air leaks waste energy dollars year-round. Caulking and weather-stripping will keep cool air in during the summer. Add insulation around air conditioning ducts when they are located in attics, crawl spaces, and garages.