Love it or hate it, warm weather is right around the corner. With it come outdoor BBQs, swimming pool hangs, summer vacations, and tanned skin. But when you’re done enjoying the great outdoors, you want nothing more than to head into a cool home.
However, problems arise if you leave a sauna-like outdoor environment only to be greeted by a similar feeling inside. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case. These methods to beat the heat will help create the ideal indoor temperature and keep your home cool all summer long.
1. Invest in Your Air Conditioning
Fans are all well and good, but let’s face facts. Having a well-functioning air conditioning unit is the real game-changer when it comes to managing your home’s temperature. From app-run systems to traditional central AC units, you’re not limited when it comes to the available options. It’s really about finding the best solution for you and your budget.
If your home isn’t fitted for central AC, don’t fret. You can install a mini split system, which can be used for both cooling and warming. These systems use an outdoor component to power indoor units and blow warm or cool air directly into the room. They’re great for upgrading your cooling plan and are typically more cost-effective than central AC. You can adjust the temp for each unit individually, so you’re only using the ones for rooms you’re in.
Maybe central AC is installed already but could use a tune-up. Get a technician scheduled sooner rather than later to avoid the summer rush and keep your unit running smoothly. If you need to fully replace the system or repair bills are racking up, a mini-split could be worth exploring. The main thing is to have functioning air conditioning that puts you in control of your home’s temperature.
2. Evaluate Your Windows and Window Treatments
Windows allow light to cascade into your home and provide the natural vitamin D everyone needs. They can also be the reason your home overheats in the summer, though. Start by checking out your windows themselves. If they’re older, they may not be optimized for weather control because of gaps in sealing or insufficient glazing.
Do you notice that your windows could use an upgrade? If it fits in your budget, think about replacing old windows with better-insulated new ones. This approach will have the greatest impact, helping your home stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
But if your budget doesn’t allow for window replacement right now, take a look at your window treatments. Awnings, curtains, and thermal shades can all play a crucial role in temperature maintenance. Like blackout curtains that prevent light from streaming in, heat-blocking curtains can prevent heat from entering your home. They’re typically thicker than decorative curtains in order to block solar gain and keep your home cooler. Although they won’t be the biggest difference-maker to your home’s temperature, small improvements can add up.
3. Avoid Oven Use During Peak Heat
There are few things better than fresh cookies. But when it feels like an oven outside, you don’t want to bring that same feeling indoors. Whenever possible, limit oven use to help keep the temperature in your home cool.
That doesn’t mean you are required to eat only salads all summer long. Stove tops generally don’t give off as much heat as your oven and are a good option for daily cooking. Or treat yourself to a meal out and avoid kitchen use altogether. The real point is to make the effort to avoid upping your home’s temperature as much as possible.
If forgoing the oven altogether is too much, be mindful of when you use it. Most areas of the country have a peak time in the day — typically mid-afternoon — when temperatures are highest. Choose a frozen snack or microwavable dish during those hours and bake the breakfast muffins at 8 or 9 p.m. You can still use your oven while also enjoying a cooler home.
4. Get the Most Out of Your Ceiling Fans
Before the summer weather strikes, it’s a good time to check out your fan situation. If your home lacks overhead fans, consider investing in them for rooms that tend to heat up. Typically, south-facing rooms and those with lots of windows heat up quicker than others.
If you’ve got ceiling fans in place and ready to go, make sure to check which direction they’re turning. Counter-clockwise is optimal for summer because it will force cooler air down in a column and leave you feeling comfortable. Clockwise is better for winter months since it will force cool air upwards, sending warmer heat down. Most fans have this setting available, so search your fan’s make and model to get specific directions on making the swap.
Maybe overhead fans aren’t your thing. Don’t worry; you’ve got other options. A few floor or tabletop fans can help reinforce other cooling measures you’re taking. In combination with air conditioning, these fans can be used to create the perfect environment in your home. Plus, you can take them with you if you move, making them items you can own for years to come.
While you can’t control heat waves and humidity, taking steps to keep your home cool will be worthwhile. Adopting even one of these tips could make being indoors more enjoyable during the summer months. All of the prep work done now will pay dividends when you’re basking in comfort instead of sweating in the scorching heat. Your future, cooler self will thank you.