I had a feeling that our long cold spring would lead to a hot summer and it has arrived with a vengeance. There was literally no break between having the heat on to starting the air conditioner. One week heat, the next air. Here are a few tips to save energy and money this summer- and keep you cooler too!
There are several tips to make your cooling system more efficient. Search for leaks and seal them. Use exterior silicone caulk around doors and windows. Check in the attic and basement where ductwork or conduit leaves or enters the house. Use expanding foam insulation here. Make sure your attic contains the required insulation to bring it to R-22 at a minimum.
Of course, we all know to use a programmable thermostat to regulate cooling. Raising the temperature just a couple degrees will save a lot of money. You can also keep cool with fans. Fans use much less energy and move that cooler, drier air around. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise. Invest in a whole-house fan and use at night when it’s cooler out. This will draw cool air in while sucking out the hot air. Keep shades drawn on sun facing windows during the day, especially west facing ones. Even your choice of bulbs makes a difference. Compact fluorescents and LED lights run cooler than incandescent.
You are probably eating lighter and less during heat waves; that’s good. We cook on the grill even in the heat. We keep our grill just outside the kitchen door so it heats up the house less. We always take advantage of every fire by cooking multiple meats and veggies. Steaks for tonight; lamb chops and grilled vegetables for the next night. Throw on a few Italian sausages for pasta and add fresh tomato sauce. We do have smaller portions; we share a steak and have fresh cut veggies or small salads. Eat smaller meals, but more frequently.
Stay hydrated, take it easy, and you’ll get through this hot spell.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO