Energy efficiency isn’t just for the winter! Here are six tips to keep you cool – and save energy – on hot summer days:

Remember that fans cool people, not rooms. There’s no doubt about it: air moving across your skin keeps you cool, whether the breeze comes from Mother Nature or an electric fan. But fans ONLY make a difference when you’re there to feel them, so turn them off when you’re not in the room. 

Use your windows to gain cool air and keep out the heat. Even on the hottest days, the temperature drops when the sun does. Open your windows at night to let in cool air, but shut windows – and shades – during the day to prevent solar gain.

Use a right-sized air conditioner, and use it right. Room air conditioners can be a cost-effective alternative to central AC, especially if you choose the right size. Bigger isn’t necessarily better; an oversized unit will waste energy by cycling on and off without effectively cooling or dehumidifying the space. Look at the EnergyGuide tag to find a unit that provides 20 Btu for each square foot of living space and an energy efficiency ratio of 10 or higher. Turning the unit off when you’re not in the room will save energy, and a timer will let you cool the room off before you reenter.

Don’t add heat to the problem. Rely on the stove or grill rather than the oven, hang your laundry on the line, minimize use of heat-generating appliances during the day, and install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.

Keep the humidity down with spot ventilation. Running a bathroom fan when you shower and a well-vented exhaust fan when you cook will remove heat and humidity from your home.

Turn down your water heater. A steamy shower probably doesn’t sound good right now, so turn down your water heater to the temperature you actually need. The warm setting (120°) should be sufficient.

Ready for more comprehensive improvements? Schedule a FREE Energy Consult with Evergreen Home Performance to learn how attic insulation and air sealing can keep you comfortable all year round.