How to Save Money and Cool Your Home During a Nebraska Summer

There are quite a few ways that you can cool down your home in the summer and save money without running your air conditioner twenty four seven. You can shut your shades, buy a programmable thermostat, install a ceiling fan or create crosswinds, and be sure that you are setting your temperatures on your thermostat correctly. All of these options are easy and very effective.

Pull your shades down

Have you ever been driving through your neighborhood and noticed that a lot of your neighbor’s window shades are down? Should you be pulling your shades down? What is that doing to their home? Are there alternatives to having your shades down constantly?

Pulling down your shades in the summer has many positive benefits for homeowners during the summer months. It may seem like shutting your shades for the summer can be wasting the beautiful natural sunlight from spilling into your home, but it may be wasting more energy and money then you would expect. Shutting your shades blocks the heat from radiating in through the windows. This can cool down your home and allow you to raise the temperature and give your air conditioner a break.

Having your air conditioner run all the time not only wastes energy, but also it costs you money and throws away fossil fuels that can contribute to climate change. Turning your air conditioner on and off may seem like that would use a lot of energy in itself, but it actually saves more energy then it burns and helps your air conditioner work more effectively. You air conditioner runs more efficiently at full speed then it does trying to remain the same temperature throughout the day. An air conditioner is able to dehumidify your home when running at full blast. It is in your best interest to close your blinds and either turn off or raise your thermostats temperature.

If you love to keep your shades open to reveal the natural sunlight, then you still have a chance. There are sheer curtains that you can buy that don’t block all sunlight out, but do block a lot of those direct rays that are allowing heat to invade your home. Also, there are alternative ways to keep the sunlight off of your windows entirely with outdoor awnings and shades. Going this route allows you to avoid having heat radiate into your home through your windows without having to constantly adjust your indoor shade. The angle of the sun rays are lower in the winter, so properly installed awnings do not have to be dismantled when the weather changes.

Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is very useful for when you want to use your thermostat when you are home, but not when you are out of the house. It has become somewhat of a standard in today’s heating and air conditioning systems. It can be hard to remember to turn your thermostat on and off every time you leave or return to your home, but a programmable thermostat has become a solution for in home climate control. Programmable thermostats can turn off the air conditioner when you leave for the day and then turn it back on before you get home, so you don’t even realize that it was off during the day. Then you are able to be comfortable right when you walk through the door and not have to wait for the temperature to decrease.

There are a few different types of programmable thermostats that are meant to meet your specific daily needs. A 7-day programmable thermostat allows you to set a specific schedule for every day of the week .A 5+2 day thermostat allows you to have a specific schedule during the week and then a separate schedule during the weekend. If you have a random schedule for the weekend you can get a 5-1-1 day, which is similar to the 5+2 day in that allows you to have the set schedule during the week, but different settings for Saturday and Sunday. Additional features that are helpful with your programmable thermostat include wifi accessibility, vacation/hold settings, full memory savings, and auto-changeover which automatically changes from cooling to heating depending on the season change.

You still need to be sure to buy a thermostat that suits both your cooling and heating system. There are some models that may not work with heat pumps or other similar units, which is a problem during the cold winter months. When using a window unit, an appliance timer can serve a similar purpose and newer models may include a timer and a thermostat. Ask your R Mechanical service technician to be sure your thermostat is compatible with all of your systems.

Install a Ceiling Fan or Create Crosswind

During a hot Nebraska summer one of the only benefits can be the cool breeze that blows through every once in a while. Utilizing that outside breeze and having a light wind flow throughout your home is a great way to keep your home cool, while saving money. When there is a breeze you are able to raise the temperature on your thermostat and not get a heat stroke. Installing a ceiling fan or creating a natural crosswind are easy and effective ways of keeping your home cool.

Investing in a ceiling fan is a great way to help keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Ceiling fans do not necessarily cool a room, but it does circulate the air which can make the air move around, helping you feel more comfortable at higher temperatures. In turn, you can set your thermostat at a higher temperature and still stay cool without wasting energy and money. Although, since a ceiling fan does not cool a room, it can end up wasting even more energy if a ceiling fan is left on in hopes of cooling a room when you are away.

Creating a crosswind is a free and easy way to cool your home. By opening a window you are able to create a nice breeze that can make a muggy room bearable. Be sure not to open the window too wide, because the best way to create a crosswind is to only open the window slightly. This can generate more of a draft between rooms. Another plus to cross ventilation is that it can act as a natural air freshener, by allowing lovely fresh air to fill your home. In a one-story home, or a single room, cracking open a window and then opening a window on the opposite side of the house can create a crosswind. Similarly, in a two-story home you can start by opening a window on the first floor and then opening a window on the opposite side of the second floor. Feel free to experiment with different window positions to find the best crosswind for your home.

Setting your thermostat

During the summer months our body is usually comfortable when our house temperature is set at or around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Although when leaving the home it is recommended to set your thermostat a few degrees higher, this is a great way to conserve energy and save money. It has been estimated that for each degree that you raise your thermostat your air conditioner uses three to five percent less energy and you can save six to eight percent on your energy bill. Be careful not to set your thermostat too high, because it may be tough for the air conditioner to get back down to the correct cooling temperature. When going to sleep at night you may think about raising your thermostat to give your air conditioner a little bit of a break and then lowering back down it in the morning.

In comparison, in the winter months it is recommended to set your home to about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Since it is cold outside your body is use to the lower temperatures and can still be comfortable with a lower temperature setting on your thermostat. By keeping your thermostat at a lower temperature in the winter your unit will not be working as hard and it can help reduced your monthly energy bill.  Similar to the summer, when you leave your home you can lower your thermostat about 3-5 degrees. In the winter this can save you five to fifteen percent off your heating bill.  Another money saving tip would be to lower the temperature in your home at night so that your heating unit does not waste energy while you sleep. Our bodies adapt to the temperatures outside, so changing the temperature so that it is similar to the outside temperature is always a great energy and money saving tip.

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