Prior to the widespread availability of central air conditioning, previous generations of homeowners learned to employ some simple strategies to keep as cool as possible during the long, hot, humid days of summer. Now that we have all become more energy-conscious, reviewing some of those ideas can be beneficial.
Make Changes on the Home Front
Here are a handful of simple things you can do at home to ensure more comfort this summer:
- If you have central air conditioning, make certain all equipment is clean and in proper working order. Replace filters, clean the outside compressor, clear leaves and branches from the area, and test fans before using the system. Test portable air conditioning units before reinstalling them.
- If you covered attic fans or vents for the winter, make certain they are uncovered and operating correctly before the summer season has you sweltering. Consider installing a whole-house fan, or add insulation to your attic. Now is the time to install ceiling fans, too. They make a surprisingly big difference and can keep you warmer next winter as well.
- Inspect your screens and get in the habit of opening windows in the evening to let cooling breezes blow through. It's especially important to let second-floor heat escape. Open your doors at dusk to allow fresh breezes in.
- Use portable fans instead of adjusting a thermostat. Circulating air feels cooler.
- Plant shade trees to shield your windows.
Alter Attitudes, Adjust Activities
Be energy-efficient, not only with your power consumption, but with your living style.
- Close windows, lower blinds and pull draperies when the sun rises to keep heat out. If you're at home, follow the sun during the day by adjusting window coverings as the light changes. It makes no sense to have all the blinds closed if you turn lights on in each room.
- Use your oven less and grill more food outside. Not only will your kitchen stay cooler, but dining al fresco is a summer treat.
- Remove rugs, clear clutter; replace dark pillows and accessories with lighter tones and smoother fabrics. Decorative changes may not alter the actual temperature, but the psychological effect is just as important!
Think cool, but learn to live with higher temperatures. Adjust your activity; move more deliberately. Plan your outings for cooler times of day, and shop in the evenings. Even when you're at home, try to take it easy during the heat of the day.
Deirdre O'Connor with Dwell360 is a REALTOR® who services the cities and suburbs of metro Boston. She is focused on her customers and her experience in the residential real estate market is extensive. Search for homes in Massachusetts and then give Deirdre a call.