Blinds are a great option for cooling your home in the summer. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/nycshooter
If your internal thermostat is melting like the rest of the U.S. right now, you probably could use some fanning, ice, or air conditioning. With that in mind, we are providing a rundown of the cheapest ways to keep your home cool this summer. While energy efficiency is an important element to this list, so is the ability to sit in your living room without sweating constantly.
Window Film, Blinds, and Awnings
During the summer, windows are great for sunlight, but they can also become an unwanted source of heat. Window treatments may not be the most exciting fix, but they are one of the cheapest options to consider.
If you don't have some already, pick up some shades, blinds, or curtains to keep the sun out of your home during the day. Keep the colors neutral, as this will reflect solar rays and the heat that comes with them. In addition, awnings can be installed on the exterior of your home to add shade to windows. Of course, this is more permanent shade that may not be ideal for all seasons.
Another thing to consider is adding high-reflectivity films to windows. They can help block the summer heat gain that comes with these current scorching temperatures. For more information on window efficiency, check out our article specifically on window treatments.
Change your Bulbs
Remember when your teacher would turn off the lights after recess? There's a reason for that, aside from the calming effect of darkness. Incandescent bulbs give off not only light, but also heat—in fact, they release 90% of their energy as heat. That's enough to add a few degrees to a room. Consider buying CFL or LED bulbs, which give off little to no heat at all, using electricity mostly towards giving off light.
Fans and Misters
Summer demands fun and so do these tips, so we suggest innovative ways of keeping yourself cool with fans. In addition to your window air conditioning unit, fans bolster movement of air and come with many different speeds and features. A fun purchase is a misting fan which can blow droplets of water into the air, giving you a perfect misty breeze to cool off.
Turning Off Electronics
This is a fairly simple tip, but nonessential electronics can produce just as much heat as incandescent light bulbs. If you really want the living room to be cool, keep on the fan, but shut off the TV, Blu-ray player, cable box, and your five laptops in the living room. Your sweatless brow will thank you.