Summer is just around the corner and if you live in the San Gabriel Valley you have probably already experienced temperatures in the hundreds by now! As homeowners, we always want to have a pleasant indoor environment but are also aware of the energy resources required to keep the home cool. Below are some creative ways to stay cool on those sizzling hot summer days.
In the garden
Create shade either from trees, arbors, pergolas or awnings for east and west facing windows to help preserving the cool on the inside. If you enjoy gardens and would like to make the most out of yours, why not plant some beautiful fruit trees such as persimmon or orange trees? While creating that much needed shade you will also be able to harvest some delicious fruits as soon as they’re ripe! It is estimated that tree-shaded neighborhoods can have 3-6 degrees cooler air temperatures during the day.
As a community we want to avoid having a garden that requires heavy watering and with that in mind landscaping with rock, cement or asphalt might sound like a good idea. Unfortunately, rocks and other ground material actually increase the temperature around the house after the sun has set. Remember to always plan your landscaping, not only for aesthetics but also for helping to keep your home cool.
Getting the most out of your air conditioner
The most effective way to cool down your home on a really hot day is to turn on the air conditioner. Many of us want to avoid using this machine as much as possible since it will increase our electricity bill. However, sometimes it’s inevitable!
Here are some tips on effectively keeping the home cool while the AC is running. Remember to close all doors and windows to avoid warm air coming into the house. The heat from TVs and lamps can affect your thermostat and make the air conditioner run longer even though the room is cool enough. So keep other electric utilities away from your thermostat. Use a ceiling fan and keep all interior doors open to help circulate the cool air throughout the house.
You also want to check how efficient your air conditioner is. The older your air conditioner is the more likely that its power is decreasing. To measure the efficiency, hold a household thermometer to measure the temperature of the air coming from the register and at the same time measure the air at the return-air grill. According to experts the difference should be between 14 to 20 degrees. If your air conditioner isn’t cooling to those levels the air conditioner might have a leak.
In your walls and on your roof
By upgrading the insulation in your attic and installing double-paned windows with tinting, you are creating additional ways to keep the heat out of the house. It’s always good to contact a contractor to get an estimate of the cost for an upgrade. Light shingles on your roof can reduce the amount of heat that your roof absorbs. Lastly, painting the exterior of your home in a light color can also help reflect sunlight.