Five tips to beat the heat without breaking the bank

By William Midkiff

May has given Louisianans a taste of the heat that’s headed this way in the summer, with temperatures consistently in the mid-90s. For lots of people, staying cool means cranking up the AC. But for those that are watching their electricity bills, here are a few tips that’ll make those wallets happy.

  • Cover the windows

The U.S. Department of Energy states on their official website that “heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling.”

Letting the sun in through the windows is a very effective way to let in heat, so closing the blinds and curtains can lower the temperature inside. Thermal curtains are made for this specific purpose and are made thicker and denser to keep out more light.

  • Buy fluorescent bulbs

Incandescent bulbs have their advantages, but one of them is not energy-efficiency. Penn State’s Center for Nanoscale Science reports that “only 10% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb is converted to light; the other 90% is lost as heat.” With several bulbs per room, that heat begins to add up.

Fluorescent bulbs produce the least heat of any type of lightbulb, making them the perfect option for summer.

  • Shut the doors

The air-conditioner will cool every open room of the house, so sealing off unused rooms will also seal off that cool air. This means that the air-conditioner will be working less, which saves money.

  • Do chores at night

Several chores, including dishwashing and cleaning laundry, follow the same format of “turn on big appliance, then leave.”

This makes chores easier, but it also makes it hotter. Large appliances use up a lot of energy (according to Cornhusker Power, dryers are the most energy-heavy appliance in the house, using a whopping 5000 watts when turned on), and that energy produces heat.

Dishwashers, washers and dryers also intentionally produce heat for cleaning purposes. This heat leaks out into the surrounding air.

Doing these chores overnight will get that hot air out during a time in which people are sleeping, and therefore won’t be near enough to the appliances to feel the effect.

  • Use fans efficiently

Electric fans use less electricity than AC, but they also don’t control the temperature of air like AC does. All fans do is accelerate air from behind and push it forward.

However, a fan can be used to push cool air into a warm area. If one room in the house is warmer than the rest, placing a fan in the doorway facing inside can balance out the temperature.

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