Summer is here. With the changing seasons come huge fluctuations in home energy bills. Air conditioners account for over 15% of electricity use in the U.S., and that number is probably much higher in the South. But it’s not all bad news. There are ways to cut your energy bills in the summer and winter using some inexpensive building materials, Mother Nature, and a dose of common sense.
1. Block the Heat
World-renowned researchers and, you know, farm animals know the best way to beat the heat is to spend some time in the shade. Houses work on the same principle. Simply planting trees and shrubs around your home and using blinds and curtains effectively can cut your energy costs by up to 40%. Try shading your air conditioner for better performance on the hottest days.
2. Take Time to Reflect
Sometimes the best tips are the simple ones. Light colors reflect. Dark colors absorb. When choosing the color of your home, simply going with a lighter shade can have a noticeable impact on your energy bills. Roof color is even more important. Beyond house color, there are all sorts of reflective barriers and materials available to help you minimize the amount of heat entering your home.
3. Let the Heat Out
Warm air rises. That means the air around your ceiling is warmer than the air around your feet, which is fortunate unless you’re seven feet tall. Rising hot air is also the reason your attic can quickly turn into a sauna. The trick is letting that air out, and several inexpensive innovations do just that. Roof vents can help let the heat out and remove moisture from your attic. Many types exist, and all can be very affordable ways to cut cooling costs. Another easy trick is simply to open the windows on the bottom floor of one side of your house and the top floor windows on the other. Natural airflow is free.
4. Do the Little Things
Many inexpensive ways to cut cooling costs are available and easily installed. Weather stripping and insulation can make a huge difference on energy costs. Ceiling fans, though they’ve taken a bad rap on television home shows, are way cheaper than air conditioners and work well at keeping the air flowing. Double-pane windows and smart window treatments also help a lot.
The best approach to cooling your home the natural way is a comprehensive one. Taken together, these methods can add up to real energy savings. Just as important, cooling your home naturally lets you enjoy the season without feeling like a prisoner waiting for the first day of autumn. Whatever works for you, United Built Homes can make it work. Call our experts today and design a plan that is efficient before the first board goes up.