Once the Texas summer hits, most of us stay inside as much as possible. We have great weather right now but temperatures will inevitably rise and staying cool while keeping energy costs down is a lot easier if you use a few of these tips.
What to do with Windows
Window glass gives us great natural light but without vacuum-insulated panes, it also gives us hotter interiors. The best way to keep cool in the summer is to block the natural light when the sun is shining directly through the windows.
Thermal curtains or thick, soft materials over windows during the day can dramatically reduce the temperature in your house.
Keeping the air moving is another way to beat the heat. If it is possible to open windows to create a cross breeze, the movement of air will help. During the depth of Texas summers, even the air is stifling so this isn’t always an option. The same advice goes for opening windows at night – temperatures always drop at night but that is relative to how hot it is during the days.
What extent can fans keep you cool in summer?
If you have ceiling fans make sure you’re using them the right way, making sure the direction is set correctly. As you’re standing under it looking up, it should be running counterclockwise. This pulls the air up and away from you.
Ceiling fans can help you FEEL like you are cooler by helping with evaporative cooling of sweat. A notable exception is a whole house attic fan. Whole house fans draw inside air into the attic area. This can have a dramatic effect on the inside air temperature later in the day by keeping the attic cooler. Without the fan, the heat from the attic gradually transfers into the house through the ceiling. A whole house fan with a thermostat forces the very hot air out of the attic and prevents this from heating the living spaces later in the day.
Air movement is the key. Any kind of fan will only move air around and without some kind of heatsink, it can not by itself remove heat. If the air in the room is saturated with water vapor, even the evaporative cooling of sweat will not help.
HVAC systems work by having air circulate through both a heat sink and help remove moisture. Dehumidifiers can be added to the systems and can remove as much as 70 pints of water per day from the home.
While speaking of appliances, avoid using big energy items like ovens and stoves during the hottest parts of the day. Computers and televisions also add a lot of heat to a room so turn them off if no one is using them. This will also help keep general energy costs down. Lights, even LEDs, should be turned off when no one is in the room or they aren’t needed.
The kind of sheets you have make a difference with how well they hold heat. Cotton clothing and sheets are breathable and lighter colors will hold less heat. There are also products like cooling pillow that will draw heat away from your head.
Avoid spending longer than 30-45 minutes in direct sunlight during the day. Take time to sit under a tree, or bring an umbrella to create shade for yourself if needed. Keep a good supply of cold water and make sure to stay hydrated.
We know energy costs can get crazy running the AC full time, so we hope these tips can help keep you cool and comfortable all summer long.