If your home gets too hot in summer, it can be unbearable. You may find it harder to fall asleep at night, you may spend the days uncomfortably sweating, and you may be reluctant to have people over because of the temperature. Fortunately, there are several ways you can keep your home cooler in summer—and not all of them are intuitive.
Clean and Maintain Your AC Unit
If you have a central air conditioning unit, you should know that over time, your unit will accumulate dust and debris, get damaged, and otherwise become compromised. As the unit ages, it’s going to become less efficient, and less capable of cooling your entire home.
One of the easiest ways to combat this is to get your AC unit regularly cleaned and maintained by a professional (or try to do it yourself). In this process, you’ll replace the air filter, clean the coils, and look for any points of damage that can be immediately repaired. If done correctly, you can not only improve the cooling power of your AC unit, but extend its lifespan.
Upgrade or Replace Your AC Unit
That said, cleaning and maintaining your AC unit is only going to be helpful if your AC unit still has potential to cool your home efficiently. In some cases, your system may be too far gone; there may be irreparable damage, or the unit may be so old that it doesn’t work nearly as well as a modern unit. In these scenarios, your best option is to upgrade or replace your AC unit.
Modern central AC units are much more efficient than their predecessors, capable of cooling bigger houses faster, while using less energy. They may cost thousands of dollars initially, but they tend to pay for themselves over time. Of course, it’s best to work with a professional when removing your old unit and installing a new one, to make sure things are handled correctly.
Clean the Ductwork
As an added measure, you can clean out the ducts and vents responsible for circulating air throughout your home. In most cases, you’ll need the help of a professional, since the interior of your ducts are hard to reach. Once cleaned, your ducts should be capable of supporting more efficient airflow—with less distribution of dust, dirt, and debris at the same time.
Improve Your Insulation
It’s also a good idea to improve the insulating capacity of your home. If you’re cooling the home with an air conditioner, it’s only a matter of time before the hot air from outside “leaks” in and compromises your living environment, making the AC unit work harder. You can reduce this effect, and keep your home cooler for longer, by adding more layers of insulation.
Start by checking doors and windows for leaks, and sealing them up if they pose an issue. You may also be able to upgrade or install insulation in the walls of your home.
Make Use of Shade
When you’re feeling hot outside, it’s natural to seek shade; that way, you’re protected against the harshest form of light from the sun. You can use the same principles to keep your house cooler, shading the roof to keep it from absorbing too much heat. The common choice here is to rely on shading trees to block as much direct light as possible.
Use Light Blocking Curtains
You can also employ a similar strategy on the inside of your house, with the help of light blocking curtains. Keep these curtains at least partially closed during the day to prevent the direct sunlight from beaming through your windows and heating up your home. Feel free to open them as the sun begins to set.
Strategically Open the Windows
If you don’t have an air conditioner, or if you don’t want to run it, you can keep your home cooler by strategically opening the windows. At night, the air is much cooler, so open all the windows of your home that you can, and use ceiling fans to distribute the air. In the morning, when the sun begins to rise, shut all the windows; this will work to “trap” the cool air in your home, and slow the house’s warmth throughout the day. By the time your home gets hot again, the sun will begin to set, and you can open the windows once again.
No matter which measures you choose to employ, there’s a chance your home will still be uncomfortably warm, at least some of the time, in summer. Do what you can to keep your home warmer, and supplement these strategies by eating ice chips, taking cool showers, and using cold compresses to keep yourself personally cool.