During the summer season energy conservation is crucial since cooling can account for about 17% of home energy consumption in some homes. Before the hot weather sets in you should perform a quick inspection of your home. Simply dampen your hand and place it in locations such as attic hatches, baseboards, corners of rooms, cracks, doors, fireplace dampers, outlets, outdoor faucets, switch plates, and windows. Your hand will feel warm near a draft. Better yet, borrow a thermal leak detector from your local County Extension Office. This will identify hot spots in your house. Then seal windows, doors, and other leaks with caulk, spray foam, weatherstripping, or other materials as needed in order to keep hot air from entering your home.
Note that unless you have mechanical ventilation for your home – like with a heat or energy recovery ventilator – you can seal a home too tightly. For this reason, it is best to consult with a professional energy auditor before sealing your home to any significant degree.
Some other simple strategies to improve the energy efficiency of your home in summer are:
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortable. Use a programmable thermostat to adjust temperature when you are out of the house or sleeping.
- If the morning or evenings are cool, open your windows; close them during a hot day.
- Shade south facing windows – deciduous trees can be used for this purpose unless you’re planning to install a solar electric or solar thermal system for your home in the future.
- Close curtains and shades during the day.
- Air dry your clothes – if you don’t like the feeling of air-dryed clothes, simply finish them in the dryer.
- Install compact fluorescent or LED lamps in place of heat-producing incandescents.
- Use a ceiling fan instead of your air conditioner or swamp cooler whenever possible.
- Remove any obstructions blocking cooling registers.
- Check all components of your cooling system thoroughly before summer and perform any required maintenance regularly.
- If you’re considering adding a new cooling system to your home, whole house fans are the most efficient, followed by swamp coolers. Central air conditioning is the least efficient.
- Finally, adding insulation is a larger project but can significantly reduce the transmission of heat into your home.