It's that time of year again: The kids are out of school and the mercury is rising. Don't spend the summer sweating, especially out of fear of receiving sky-high energy bills! You've heard of winterizing your home? Consider these techniques to summer-proof your house and keep those bills in check.
01 of 08
Implement Passive Design Strategies
Conditioning your home's air takes a lot of energy—and that kind of energy can cost a lot of money. Passive design strategies utilize the elements (sun, wind, etc.) to keep your home comfortable and healthy. Planting trees and installing overhangs are just a couple of ways you can lighten the load on your AC. Also consider implementing some daylighting techniques to let that summer sun illuminate your home and reduce your use of electrical lighting.
02 of 08
Decide Between a Window Unit or Central Air Conditioning
Window unit air conditioners don't have a high entry cost, with most units priced at well under $500. They provide flexibility, too, as they can be moved between rooms as needed. Also, when if one window unit dies, you have others (hopefully) to keep pumping out cool air while you shop for a replacement or repair your present one. By contrast, central air conditioning is all-or-nothing: When it breaks down, the entire house is affected. But the greatest benefit of central air conditioning is one that beats most of the benefits of window units: As a permanent addition to the home, it adds long-lasting value to the property.
03 of 08
Properly Size Your AC
If you are planning on purchasing a new air conditioner this summer, do your research to make sure you are buying the most efficient model. Bigger does not always equal better. Air conditioning that is oversized for the space is not just a waste of energy—it also works less efficiently. On the other hand, undersizing your AC means a unit that is continually running inefficiently.
04 of 08
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
Before undertaking any energy efficiency upgrades to your home, you should always begin by conducting a home energy audit. Whether you complete them yourself or hire a pro, these evaluations will help you prioritize your project so you can save the most on your energy bills.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Although it seems counter-intuitive to add insulation to your home to prepare for the summer, the better insulated your walls, ceilings, and floors are, the less conditioned air they will leak. No need to try to cool the outdoors, too!
Reasons for adding insulation in the summer are endless, but consider this one: If walls need to be opened up to insert insulation, it is far better to do this in warm months than cool months.
06 of 08
07 of 08
Paint Your Roof White
One of the biggest and best energy-saving ideas of the last decade was proposed by Steven Chu, former U.S. Secretary of Energy and a Nobel prize-winning scientist: paint every roof white. He estimated that doing so would be like removing every vehicle from the planet for 11 years. On an individual level, you can expect your energy costs to plummet when you paint your roof white. This is because light colors such as white essentially bounce light—and heat—back into space, rather than into your home's attic.
08 of 08
Tame That Moisture Problem
Summer can mean more than heat; it also means dry in many regions. The dry season means that you have time to determine why your basement or crawlspace has moisture build-up problems. It's not something you can do in the heavy rainy months of fall or the icy months of winter. You'll especially want to check outside sources, such as drain pipes that force water directly into the ground next to the foundation, cracked foundation walls, and ground sloping towards the house.
If you live in a region that experiences sky-high humidity in the summer, try to tame any moisture issues in your home before the heat and humidity set in to limit any damage from another hot, sweaty summer.