How Are You Staying Cool This Summer?

| 6/8/2010 11:54:57 AM

Tags: question to readers, energy efficiency,


As temperatures and humidity begin to rise during this time of year, something must be done to keep your home cool and comfortable. There are several ways to keep your home cool all while saving a substantial amount on money and energy. Simple Ways to Cool Your Home and Save Big suggests different energy-efficient alternatives to air conditioning including using attic fans, ceiling fans or whole-house fans. If you are in an area with a hotter climate and have no choice but to turn on your air conditioner, Fan Your Way to Lower Energy Bills is another article that has great information about how to reduce your energy bills just by turning on your ceiling fan.

Are you planning on using your air conditioning this summer or turning to an alternative cooling method? Let us know in the comments section below!


Photo by iStockphoto/jimbycat
6/16/2010 9:18:34 AM

Our house is nearly 200 years old with original leaded glass windows, therefore it's poorly insulated. Hubby owns a heating and air conditioning company so we do have central air but only on the second floor where the bedrooms are located. We get the most amazing breezes so most nights we do just fine with window and ceiling fans. On the nights that it's really humid we will turn the A/C on about one hour before bed and it gets turned off first thing in the morning. I think last summer we may have used the A/C a total of 7-8 nights.

6/14/2010 10:28:50 AM

We live in Tucson, Arizona. A little over a month ago we had a 2 by 4 foot operable skylight installed, which replaced one that did not open. It cost between $850. to $900. We had to find some way to allow hot air from our 4 water distillers to escape. While the temperature was still in the low to mid 60's overnight, we opened the skylight when outside air was cooler and two small additional windows -- kitchen and back door (depending on temperature just one.) This allowed the cool air in and the hot air out. In the mornings the temp. was typically about 78 (we keep the thermostat at 83 but turned it off at night.) Sometimes, the temp. didn't reach 83 'till 11:30 a.m. We saved about $29. the first month. We also adjust temp. by adjusting the blinds on the east and west sides of the house accordingly; and installed film on the windows. During the winter, we heat the bedroom with an oil radiator-type heater and our offices with radiant heaters -- they work great! Got some good ideas from other comments -- thanks to all!

patrick kirgan
6/14/2010 12:05:58 AM

We have been working on building a wind generator to help with our electric. We are buying an electric car. Also, we have a solar panel to help heat in the winter. It has always been our intention to try to aleviate our dependence on oil and gas. However, we do not believe that the technology is "ready" to replace fossil fuel, as yet. If regulations and mandates are prematurely passed onto the public too soon we are afraid that it will destroy the economy. There has to be an efficient and affordable alternative that is comparable and dependable to secure our "green" future. Technology is progressing and that is something that gives us optimism.

6/12/2010 4:20:08 PM

We have a well with a hand pump. Sticking your feet in a bucket of that water can take your breath away... it also is a great way to chill down the wine. When we built our house we added radiant barrier beneath the top board of our trusses, which allows airflow through the soffits and up through the roof vent. We were amazed at how much cooler the house was immediately after the installation. We also used advanced trusses to make sure we had plenty of insulation at the top of the walls, so we are super insulated. We were keeping the house closed up during the day to keep out the heat and open at night to let in the cool, but have had humidity/mold problems, and turning on the ceiling fan brings the heat down from the peaked ceiling, warming the room. It did seem that fans placed on the floor worked much better. This summer we will do more experimentation.

jody _1
6/12/2010 12:03:40 PM

When it gets hot here we keep the windows open at night to let cool air in, close windows, blinds and curtains once the sun is up high to keep out the heat. The attic is well insulated which helps. Also, if you put peppermint in your water and drink it through out the day it will help you to stay cool. You can use either the plant or the oil. You can also put the oil on the bottom of your feet, on a handkerchief with some water on top of your head under a hat if you have to work outside. Works wonders....and it's good for your digestion too! I love the claw tub bath in the yard idea. Thanks!

6/11/2010 9:02:08 PM

We decided to beat the heat in Arizona's Sonoran desert w/out AC is to dig basement bedrooms with 8" concrete block walls and berm the outside two feet high. The underground temperature is a constant 75-77 degrees at a 6' depth. This temperature may sound warm but with the triple digit temps we've had this week, 75 degrees is a welcome relief!

roy fritz
6/11/2010 8:09:52 PM

My sister had 4 bambo curtains that were 8 ft wide and 8ft long and were once dividers in her basement. I took them and hung them on the side of my house faceing the midmorning sun and when it gets hot I unroll them down and secure them to the bottom of the house. These shade the part of the house that the sun hits first. That helps keep the walls cooler by about 18 to 22 degrees. They work great when it is hot outside. I can easilly roll them up at any time. I also have a small portable fan that is solar powered that I let run during the day. I got this at a yard sale for $6.oo. The panel I already. Works for me. MntMnRF

6/11/2010 5:12:50 PM

We are plumbers so we have a salvaged claw foot tub in a shady spot in the back yard that we can fill with cool water for a dip. The drain can be adapted to a hose which we can run to the garden to re-use the water in our irrigation system. We planted tiger lilies and ferns around the tub so it looks cool too. And no, we don't have an old toilet with flowers planted in it in the yard!!!

6/11/2010 1:41:24 PM

As the spring is turning into summer and the heat is raising, we still maintain with our Antique westinghouse table fans, they blow huge amounts of air and saves us a ton on our Electric bills. where we live we know people that pay 500.00 to 1200.00 a month in ele. When we first started not useing the AC it might been abit hard but after about a week or two we got used to and and never looked back. in the winter we do the same use one small heating unit and bundle up. I feel we have got our selfs to a point if something were to happen like back outs or worse we would be just fine.

willow richardson_2
6/11/2010 10:04:27 AM

We built a simple "swimming pool" made of an eight-foot poly cattle trough, attached a small pump and ozone filter and a solar heater for early use in the spring and later use in the fall. We placed it in a deck between the garden and the house. By cooling down between the garden and the house, we have found no need for a/c in the house even when day temps reach in the high 100s.

george works
6/11/2010 8:59:43 AM

We live on a Caribbean island where the weather is often hot and humid, and electricity costs $0.35 per KWH. I replaced the failing ceiling fan in our bedroom with an Energy-Star rated Hampton Bay 60" high efficiency fan. It has four speeds but we've only needed the highest speed on two nights in the past year. This inexpensive fan moves much more air using much less power than the original decorative ceiling fan with flat wooden blades.

suzanne horvath
6/11/2010 8:33:24 AM

I read somewhere that if you have double hung windows, the way to use them is to pull the top section to the middle and do the same with the bottom section. You will then have an opening at the top and the bottom. The hot air will go out the top and cooler air in through the bottom (or place your fan there). I haven't had a chance to test this yet since I've had a dehumidifier running due to moisture problems from the constant storms last year. But I will try it soon. Electricity is too expensive to run the AC too often.

heidi _2
6/9/2010 8:01:56 AM

We live in an upper apartment in a brick four-plex in Wisconsin. We use a fan in the bedroom and the living room to try to keep those rooms cool. The living room fan is placed in front of the balcony door to pull in air. The bedroom fan has to be in a certain place because of where the outlets are, but it is placed well enough to cool us while we sleep. We provide our guinea pig with bottles of frozen water to cool her cage and a flat lunch box ice block to lie on, with dish towels placed between her and the ice. I also will try to spend more time on the balcony this summer with my spinning wheel, where it would be somewhat cooler and the wheel would create a small breeze. Air conditioning would be cost-prohibitive and an energy-sucker for the short amount of time we'd use it. We save our energy money for the heating bills in the winter.

mike schonlau_3
6/8/2010 5:50:21 PM

I live in Nebraska and despise humidity. We've been making a lot of changes to our lifestyle over the past few years in terms of conservation and healthy living, but I'm having a hard time not setting my thermostat to "cool". As a matter of fact, I'd give up heat before I gave up AC. We're designing our new home to make better use of natural air flow. I'm hoping to better insulate and air seal my current home so that maybe I could at least try turning off the AC for a few days. I've got my whole house fan, ceiling fans, and dehumidifier. We'll see what happens!

6/8/2010 4:07:49 PM

I live in the tropics and never run the aircon. We can keep our apartment cool by opening the windows and doors and placing the portable fans in the right way so as to suck the cool air in and blow the warm air out. Of course on a breezy day this is much easire. Because we don't run the aircon, our electric bill is much lower than most people we know.

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