I broke down and started up our air conditioner today. I can handle the house being a bit warm, but as soon as it stays humid all night I need relief that open windows just won’t provide. For those with allergies or asthma, I get it – opening the windows isn’t always feasible. Whether or not you turn on your A/C, here are some tips to keeping your house cool and comfortable. I’ve given you a week’s worth – try adding one per day for the next week, and keep it up all summer!
- Close the blinds/curtains. Before you leave for work, or after you’re done your morning routine, close the blinds or curtains to keep the sun out. This is especially important on south- and west-facing windows where the sun is the strongest.
- Programmable thermostat. If you have central air or a split system and don’t have a programmable thermostat, they’re worth the investment. You don’t need the fancy Nest kind (though they do look pretty cool!) – you can pick one up from your favourite hardware store. If you have one, don’t keep it on “hold” – set and run the program.
- Don’t crank down the temperature. Dropping your thermostat way down won’t cool your house any faster. Try setting it for half a degree cooler than the current temp if you’re uncomfortable; often the house will feel cooler once some of the moisture is removed rather than the temperature dropping several degrees.
- Set the temperature higher during the day when you’re not home. 26-28°C, 79-81°F is a good range. When you are home, don’t automatically drop the temperature below 26°C/79°F. Try dropping it half a degree at a time if you’re too warm.
- Make sure your filter is clean.If you have a furnace, check your filter at the start of each season and change it if it’s dirty. Your furnace has to work harder (and therefore uses more energy) if your filter is clogged.
- Avoid the stove. BBQ or prepare cold salads so you don’t add heat to your kitchen from cooking. You could even take a picnic to a park as your house cools down.
- Free cooling overnight. If the humidity drops overnight, turn off the A/C, crank open the windows (if health reasons don’t prevent you from doing so). Fans are great to help circulate the air too. Be sure to close the windows before the day heats up and if you turn your A/C back on.