Pretty much everywhere, it’s gonna be hot. This is California, after all. It’s only April, and a lot of us have already started feeling the heat. As summer approaches, the temperature is only going to climb and climb.
West Coast summers can feel like a choice between melting in the heat or spending all your money on your air conditioning bill. But they don’t have to be! If you’re worried about spending enough on air conditioning to put a kid through college, turn down the air and try a few of these tricks instead.
Draw the Shades When You Go Out
All that summer sunshine coming through your windows looks and feel great, but it’s also turning your home into a bit of a greenhouse. When sunlight comes through your windows, it warms the air inside your home. Since your home is an enclosed space, that heated air isn’t moving. Instead, it’s continuously heated by the sunlight, driving up the temperature in your house.
No matter how serious you are about driving down your AC prices, you probably don’t want to live your home life in darkness. Unless you’re a vampire. Sun heats up your home whether you’re there or not, however. Try closing all the shades when you go out for the day. You won’t be home to enjoy the sun anyway, and the blinds will help keep heat-generating light out of your home, keeping it cool and saving you power.
Unplug Unused Electronics
Big, powerful electronics like computers and televisions generate a lot of heat–sometimes even when they’re not in use! If you hear your computer, TV, or game console fans working overtime, consider unplugging them for awhile.
Even little appliances like lamps and chargers can generate a lot of heat if they see heavy use. If you unplug any electronic devices you aren’t using, you could cool things down a few degrees without inconveniencing yourself in the slightest.
Open Up the Place
Keeping doors in your home closed blocks cool air movement and lets heat buildup in the confined rooms. If you keep the windows open in closed-off rooms, heat from the sun pumps into your house and then has nowhere to go.
Just opening up the house to let air flow from room to room can make a surprisingly big difference, both to the actual air temperature and to your personal comfort. If you’re using a fan or have windows open, propping open your door will have an even greater positive effect. Try opening windows at both ends of your home so cool breeze can travel directly through.
Switch Out the Lights
Did you know that traditional incandescent light bulbs generate light with heat? When turned on, the bulb converts the electricity running through it into heat by passing it through a tungsten wire. When the wire gets hot enough–up to 4600 degrees!–it produces light. Incandescent bulbs discharge 90% of the heat they produce, which is why they get so hot.
Using incandescent bulbs will raise the air temperature in your house by several degrees, especially if you use a lot of bulbs at once. Consider replacing any incandescent bulbs in your home with Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights. Both of these types of light don’t produce as much heat as incandescents and will help keep your home cool.
Use the “Cool Breeze” Trick
Here’s a classic, lo-fi way to stay cool on a hot summer’s day. Here’s how it works. Set up your portable or standing lamp up so that the air it blows hits you directly. Then, fill up a bowl with ice from your freezer or ice maker. Put this bowl directly in front of the fan.
That’s it! The fan blows the air in front of it, so it’ll start blasting the cool air produced by the ice straight at you. All you have to do is refill the ice bowl as it starts to melt–and make sure the condensation isn’t leaving rings in your nice furniture.
Take Your Fans With You
Fans affect the wind chill in your home by moving cool air toward you and directing warm air away, but they don’t actually affect temperature. In other words, leaving fans on in empty rooms doesn’t help cool those rooms down–fans only have an effect on our perception of heat.
If you use portable fans, take them with you to any room you’re going to be in for awhile. They don’t do any good spinning away in an empty room, and they’re wasting electricity. Multiple fans in a single room can help you and your family feel cooler without using the AC. Use enough fans, and you’ll be able to turn down the AC without feeling the heat.
California summers can be brutal, but remember: there’s always a way to keep cool. With a little creativity and simple tips like these, we can get through the dog days together.
No matter how efficiently you keep yourself cool, however, you probably don’t want to be without AC entirely. If you’re afraid your air conditioner is on its last legs, give us a call today. Our expert technicians perform a complete maintenance routine, cleaning and checking every component of your AC and letting you know how it’s working. If we find a problem, we’ll fix it fast and effectively. You don’t have to be uncomfortable in your own home this summer; not on our watch!