The dog days of summer are here and so are the scorching temps. Thankfully, the heat wave here in the Northeast just ended, but there’s no guarantee that another one won’t come along before summer is done.
So if you’re living in a place with scorching temps, you may be wondering: how can a homeowner stay cool in the summer heat without jacking up the utility bills?
Yesterday, I appeared on the TV program “Wake Up with Al” to discuss just this. I spoke with hosts Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams and shared these 6 tips to help your home stay cool. This was on behalf of my client HomeAdvisor.
Here are tips on how to keep your home cool this summer.
1. Covered decks and screened in porches are a great way to stay cool and still enjoy the outdoors. While building a screened-in porch can cost an average of $15,488, consider installing an awning over a patio for an average of $2,415. An awning will make the patio a versatile space for relaxing and entertaining. Or you can purchase a sail cloth like we did on Amazon.com and drape it over your patio or deck. Either way you’re creating shade, which will help you stay cool.
2. A/C repair/maintenance: Don’t let a broken A/C unit ruin your summer. Hire a pro to inspect and repair the unit for $320. Having a small fix taken care of will cost less than letting the A/C unit wear itself down over time. Remember to change the filters every month to ensure optimal efficiency. As I mentioned in my segment, most filters claim to keep your forced-air system clean for 90 days, but the truth is you should be changing your air conditioning filters every 30 days.
3. Adjust your ceiling fan. Ceiling fans need to have their motors switched seasonally and should turn counter-clockwise during the summer to push cold air down. If your fan needs to be fixed, hire a pro for an average of $131.
4. Consider installing energy-efficient windows to decrease the utility bill and help regulate the home temperature. Double-paned windows are a “green” alternative that keep in the air and defend against sunlight more efficiently. Unfortunately, tax credits for energy-efficient improvements, such as new windows, expired in 2014.
5. A swimming pool can be add many years of fun and exercise to your home’s life if you’re willing to put in the time and maintenance effort to keep it in good shape. Can’t afford an in-ground pool? Well, a kiddie pool for kids or dogs, sprinkler or even a Slip N Slide might do the trick to help you stay cool this summer instead!
6. Strategically planting trees can be a long-term solution for beating the heat. The trees will protect your home from the sun. Homeowners may also choose to plant trees near driveways, walkways, air conditioning units and other areas that absorb a lot of heat. Consider planting trees that drop their leaves in winter, and place them on the south and west sides of your home–the ones that get the most sun. This way they will shade your house in summer and help keep it warm, by letting in the sun, in winter.