Ways to beat the heat
.... And keep your cool
Having Trouble Keeping Your Cool?
If you’re feeling like New England skipped right over spring and landed squarely in summer this year, you’re not alone. And it looks (and so far feels) like this summer is going to be a scorcher. Everyone is looking for energy efficient cooling methods!
According to David Epstein’s Summer Weather Outlook, there was a time when the typical New England summer might bring a grand total of 12-16 days with temperatures above 90 degrees. 2018 saw 23 days above 90 in Boston, and it was even hotter inland. Following on the heels of a cool, wetter-than-normal spring could be another indication. The last time New England had a spring as cool and wet as 2019 was back in 1983, and the summer that followed had the highest number of days on record with above-90 days in Boston – 30 such days to be exact. Will this year be a repeat? We’ll all know soon enough!
Needless to say, soaring temperatures throughout New England have people wondering how to beat the summer heat. We’ve got 7 energy efficient cooling methods to help you keep your cool this summer.
Prevent Daytime Solar Gain for Energy Efficient Cooling
Most people like having lots of windows to let in natural light, but all those windows act like magnifying glasses when the sun hits them. Among your most effective energy efficient cooling methods is using internal shades, blinds and drapes to greatly reduce solar gain through any windows the sun's rays hit directly at some point during the day. If you have air conditioning, you'll be surprised at how much less you have to run it when you reduce solar gain!
Ductless Air Conditioning for Quick, Quiet Cooling
It's surprising how many people still go through the annual unwelcome chore of lugging their window air conditioners out of storage and heaving them into place for summertime cooling. There's always that one panic-filled moment when you realize how easy it would be to let it slip and go crashing down to the ground. What a hassle, right?
Consider installing one or more super-efficient ductless air conditioners that will get the job done with a lot less noise and struggle. And in the winter they can provide heat as well, cutting down substantially on heating fuel costs. NEEECO has a variety of styles available for installation. Visit our Ductless Heating and Cooling page to find out why more people are turning to ductless systems for energy efficient cooling. Another plus is that all our systems are ENERGY STAR rated!
Draw in Cooler Nighttime Air for Energy Efficient Cooling
Another surprisingly effective and energy efficient cooling technique is the tried-and-true keeping your place shut up tightly during the day, then opening your windows at night to let in the cooler nighttime air. This works especially well throughout New England thanks to cooler overnight temperatures compared to more southern locations during the summer.
Use fans to create a good cross-breeze airflow throughout your home. Place one set of fans on one end of the house facing in to draw in the cool air from the outside. Put another set of fans on the other end of the house facing outwards to pull the warm air out of the home and create the cross-breeze. But if you really want to maximize the effects of this methods, use a whole-house fan. You'll also enjoy a much better night of sleep with cooler indoor temperatures!
Increase Your Home's R-Value
It's pretty common in New England for most homeowners to be more concerned about keeping the cold air out during winter. The good news is that anything you do along those lines will also help keep your house cooler in the summer (as long as you're also reducing solar gain as previously mentioned).
One of many ways to boost your home's R-Value (a way of measuring how well it is insulated) is to boost the amount and quality of insulation throughout your home. Check out our previous article, Increase Your Home's R-Value to Decrease Your Energy Costs. Then visit the NEEEDO Insulation page to see what we can do for you!
I've already talked about how windows can be a source of solar gain you can easily control. But it's also worth taking a look at the more direct role your windows can play in energy efficient cooling. The most efficient windows will keep your house cooler in the summer as well as warmer in the winter. How can they do this? It's all about multiple panes of glass with inert gases in-between them, better-insulated window frames, and glass glazes to reflect the sun's heating rays on the infrared end of the light spectrum as well as the ultraviolet rays that do damage to interior décor and furnishings. And these windows can do all of that without any noticeable reduction in visible light! Visit the NEECO Energy Efficient Windows page to learn more.
Air Sealing & Weather Stripping
Whether you're talking about heating or cooling, how leaky your house is has a major impact on how much energy gets used to control your home's indoor temperature. Leaky homes can waste as much as 20% of the energy being used for temperature control. Here are the main culprits that should be checked and sealed as needed:
- Basement (plumbing entries)
- HVAC ductwork
- Roof (fans and vents)
- Floors, walls and ceilings (including attic)
- Electrical outlets
Visit the NEEECO Air Sealing & Weather Stripping page to learn more about how we can stop money leaking from your home.
Decrease the Heat You Generate Indoors
The sorts of things you do in your home can have a big impact on the indoor temperature. Part of your summertime energy efficient cooling strategy should be minimizing heat-producing activities and items in your home. If most of your lighting is provided by traditional incandescent light bulbs, those babies produce a lot of heat! Go with more energy-efficient options such as compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs. Cooking can really heat things up inside as well. Get your grill on and do more cooking outside than in, or find meal options that involve minimal or cooking or which can be cooked in the microwave rather than on the stove or in the oven. Wash laundry in cold water and line-dry it instead of running the dryer (and you'll love how fresh it smells, too). Only run your dishwasher when it's packed full, and if you can program it, let do it's thing in the middle of the night.
You can enjoy significantly lower indoor temperatures in your home by following the 7 energy efficient cooling strategies outlined above. And you probably noticed that most of them have to do with your home’s overall energy efficiency. This summer is a great time to go the extra step and have a full energy audit done, completely free of charge, to find out what else you can do and how much money you could save. Check it out on the NEEECO Energy Assessment page!