DIY Ways to Save on Summer Cooling Costs for Your Home

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by on April 25, 2014

save on summer cooling costsSummer can be a drain on your energy bills. The U.S. Department of Energy says that heating and cooling costs can eat up almost 54 percent of your utility bills. There are some things that you can do yourself to offset the seasonal impact on your pocketbook. These DIY projects will help you Save on Summer Cooling Costs to keep your home cooler during the hot season without spending a fortune.

Add Some Green Around the House

Plant trees and bushes in the yard to provide shade on the house, suggests Bankrate. Especially helpful is shade that falls on windows and doors. Plant your garden so that sunlight can still get into the house, but diffusely, so it isn’t shining directly into the house.

For a fast growing shade tree that you could enjoy in three to five years, This Old House suggests the Northern Red Oak and Freeman Maple. These are deciduous trees that will lose their leaves each year. For an evergreen tree option, consider the Eastern White Pine and ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae to create a hedge to shade your home.

Create Artificial Shade

Consider installing awnings over windows that face the sun. Awnings that can be rolled up or down give you the choice of letting in the sun versus keeping the windows in the shade. You can also install rigid awnings that hang above your windows on a bracket, making it easy to take them down when not needed. Your local home improvement store will have a selection of awnings. You will need to take in your measurements and have the right size ordered for you.

Thermostat Control

Run your thermostat a little warmer through the summer. Family Handyman says you can save from 5 to 10 percent on cooling costs for each degree higher than 78 degrees that you keep your thermostat.

Summer Window Treatments

Covering the windows with dark, opaque curtains keeps the light out as well as the heat. Research the variety of solar shades online that reduce the heat, but allow light to still come through. Shades come in a variety of designs, so you can still have an attractive window treatment while saving on your energy costs.

Fix the Leaks

Inspect your furnace/air conditioning ductwork and look for any places that may leak and waste cool air. Older homes are most susceptible to ductwork that has come apart, corroded or been punctured. Duct repair tape can temporarily repair minor holes until you get a professional out to look at it. You may be able to slide sections back together, but if damaged, they may need to be replaced.

If you have ductwork that runs through the attic or a crawlspace, animals can get in and damage it. You may need someone to come in to find and fix areas where critters can get in, and then fix the ductwork that was damaged.

Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans help air circulate through the house so there are no dead spots where the air becomes stagnant. In the summer, ceiling fans should draw the air up toward the ceiling. This brings the cool air up from the floor to mix with the room air, keeping the entire room comfortable. Home improvement stores have a selection of fan styles with features including built in lighting kits and remote control operation.

Change Light Bulbs

The standard incandescent light bulb generates a lot of heat. Newer compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, are cooler and don’t use as much energy, as Family Handy Man points out. Although more expensive than incandescent, the CFLs will save you in the long run by reducing your energy and cooling needs. CFLs are available from home improvement stores and may be purchased online, sometimes offering you a savings if you buy in quantity.

You may also want to check out my post on Installing Motion Sensors to save money, too.

Dry Out the Air

High humidity makes the heat feel more uncomfortable than drier air. Use a dehumidifier in the summer to pull moisture out of the air in the house. You’ll feel better in a warmer house when the air is less humid.

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