Beat the heat: Tips to cool your home

Summer is officially here with forecasters calling for a heat wave this week as temperatures push the 30+ degree mark in many areas. Here are some simple ways you can lower the heat in your home without breaking the bank.

1. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to keep your HVAC system running efficiently is simply to replace the air filter a few times a year. Many ignore this simple step and the filters become clogged with particles and debris which slows air flow down thus taking longer to heat and cool your home which, of course, costs more. Change the filter in the spring and the fall.

2. Use you air conditioner efficiently. When the heat spikes, don’t overreact and crank up the air conditioner. Settle on a reasonable temperature and let your own body adjust to it. Saves on wear and tear and saves a bit of money. Speaking of air conditioners, get it serviced from time to time so it remains in top working order.

3. Install a smart thermostat. Thermostats that can detect motion in your home will help regulate when air conditioning or, heating for that matter, comes on or off. Some can even factor the local weather into the equation. The result is your HVAC system works less and saves you money.

4. Create an air current to flow through your home. Open a door and a window so that the air pressure can balance out and create a draft. On the other hand, if you use an efficient air conditioner, keeping the windows and doors closed is the best option to maintaining a cool temperature.

5. Do your laundry in the late evening and turn on the dishwasher before you go to bed. All the appliances in our homes typically generate heat when running. Operating them at night prevents adding heat that the daytime brings. This tip goes hand-in-hand with the idea of eating meals that take less time in the oven or stove top. As well, cooking on the BBQ means no heat going inside.

6. Unplug. Anything plugged in produces heat. Unplug any and all devices you don’t constantly use.

7. Ceiling fans. Keeping these on while you’re at home is a good idea. Many models come with switches that can adjust whether the air is pulled up or pushed down depending on the climate. Down for summer (counter-clockwise), up for winter (helps circulate the warm air that rises to the ceiling and can actually save as much as 10 per cent on your heating bill).

8. Keep the shades closed during the day and open at night. This will prevent your house from overheating while you’re at work. Not using some rooms? Keep the doors closed so the precious cool air permeates the spaces you are in.

9. If you ever felt the need to switch from incandescent light bulbs to LEDs, now is the time.

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