Summer Home Cooling Tips

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Summer Home Cooling Tips

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With summer just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about how to keep your house cool. Whether it’s the home you live in or an investment property, there are a few easy steps you can take this weekend to make sure the inside of the building is comfortable while maximizing energy efficiency.
Open a window: Okay, we’re not trying to insult your intelligence with this one. But most people are not strategic about when they open their windows. And new residents of the Boise area may not be aware of the huge benefits to be had because of the Treasure Valley’s arid climate. While the high temperature may be upwards of ninety degrees outside, the overnight lows tend to be significantly cooler (mid-50s).
So if you don’t already, get into the practice of turning off your A/C at night and open the windows instead. You’ll also want to make sure to close the windows back up in the morning, before it starts to get hot outside again, so that you can trap as much cool air as possible inside the house. This leads us to our next tip …
Air seal your home: Some gaps where cool air can escape may be really obvious—say, for instance, underneath the front door. There may be others you do not know about. Inspect any area where two different building materials meet (ex: around a chimney, windows & doors, around a wall or window mounted air conditioning unit, mail slots, etc.).
If you do find some leakage, it can usually be fixed with some caulking or weatherstripping.

Install a ceiling fan: If you pick a ceiling fan that is the appropriate size for the room, you can set your thermostat about 4 degrees cooler and have the same level of comfort. And with the average ceiling fan using about 60 watts of power compared to the air conditioner’s 3,500 watts, it can mean huge savings when the electric bill comes due.

Make sure your A/C is in good condition: The best step toward keeping your air conditioner in good working order is to regularly clean or replace the filter, coils and fins. You’ll want to do this regularly, probably about every 6 months. Don’t wait until it gets hot outside to turn on your A/C. Turn it on now to make sure it’s functioning correctly. Additionally, make sure to call a professional technician to tune up the unit once every year.

But DON’T run the A/C all of the time: In addition to turning the air conditioner off at night (while you have the windows open as outlined above), you’ll want to keep it off when you’re out and about enjoying your summer—say floating the Boise River or hiking Table Rock.

By taking the steps outlined in No. 4 on this list, your air conditioner should be able to cool your house pretty quickly once you’ve returned. If you absolutely cannot stand coming home to a warm-ish house, consider setting the thermostat at least a few degrees higher while you’re away.

All of these tactics take minimal effort and can go a long way toward ensuring you enjoy a cool summer and maximize your energy savings.

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