We're in the thick of summer, and it feels like the only thing higher than the temperatures outside are our cooling bills.
The price for staying comfortable this season can be high if your air conditioner is endlessly on blast. But it doesn't need to be. Simple tasks like properly insulating windows and putting extra care into your thermostat technology can make a huge difference. You can save money and even conserve some energy while you're at it.
Here are our hacks for cutting your cooling bill this summer.
Curtains can be more than just stylish
Drapery can do more than just add flair to your windows. According to Energy.gov, white drapes or shades can reflect heat away from the house. Also, keeping curtains closed on south and west-facing windows during the day will decrease heat as well. And for those windows, installing awnings will bring down temperatures even more. These touches can make a big difference, and require no technology.
Apply reflective film to your windows
You don't need to go through the trouble and cost of fully replacing your windows to be more energy efficient. Reflective films, like sun control window films, can be applied to your windows without an aesthetic change and will greatly reduce the infrared energy coming in. Small change, big difference.
Avoid cooking indoors
Cooking on an oven or stovetop generates a lot of heat, which can strain your air conditioning system. As if summer BBQ's weren't fun enough as it is, here's your practical incentive to have more of them. Or if you do cook indoors, use a crockpot.
Use a ceiling fan
Turning on your ceiling fan can lower the temperatures and offset the cost of using the A/C. Ceiling fans are more powerful than smaller, regular fans so if you don't think your desk fan is making a difference, that doesn't mean you should write off the entire fan family.
Stay on a lower floor
This may seem like a no-brainer, but hot air rises, so the lower levels of your home will naturally be cooler. If your home has a first-floor master bedroom or even a man cave in the basement, that's where you should spend the most time during the summer. That way, you can use less air conditioning.
Program your thermostat
Getting a programmable thermostat is not a fancy, unnecessary upgrade. You can adjust your temperatures while you're away or asleep, saving money and cutting the energy you're consuming. Even a few degrees add up over time.
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By Pamela Crawford, author, Easy Patio Veggies & Herbs
Photographs by Pamela Crawford
Pamela has written a great article about mixing herbs in containers. Herbs are natural companions with different textures for interest. The herb mix of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme offers lots of flavor from a small combination loaded with textural interest.
To learn more, click here .
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