It’s rare that a city’s high temperature for the day headlines the national news, but that’s been the case this week, as several cities in Arizona have notched temperatures above 120 degrees. An excessive heat warning in Phoenix isn’t like an excessive heat warning anywhere else in the country, and there’s no doubt the fire in the air has you reaching to turn your A/C to its “Arctic” setting. While air conditioning may feel like a lifesaver, the bill at the end of the month may have the opposite effect. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average monthly energy bill in Tucson $130.51, over 10% higher than the national average. And with these record temperatures, it’s likely to be higher. Is there a way to survive the heat and the resulting bill? Yes! Below are several tips on how to cool your home. While it may not outright replace traditional air conditioning, it will certainly assist in cutting costs.
Focus on You, Not the Room
It’s easy to see the temperature of a room and instinctively turn the A/C down, but your internal temperature is much more important to staying cool. Have a cold drink, wrap yourself in a cool, damp washcloth, wear lighter clothing (in color and material), and change the sheets on your bed. If you’re cool, the temperature of the room doesn’t matter nearly as highly.
Close Those Blinds
A classic suggestion, but vital nonetheless. Upwards of 30% of your heat comes in throw windows. By simply keeping your blinds shut, not only will you keep the scorching sun off of you, but your rooms can cool drastically, upwards of 20 degrees.
Be Smart About Doors
If you’re fortunate enough to have nighttime temperatures below your thermostat setting, open your doors at night to allow for cooler air from the outside to give you some reprieve from the heat. During the day, close doors to rooms that you won’t be accessing regularly, such as offices, bathrooms, and the like, to keep whatever cooler air you have where it matters most.
Reverse Your Fans
This may sound made up, but take our word for it. Your ceiling fans need to have their rotations change throughout the year, and rotating counter-clockwise will create an airflow that pushes cool air down. Increase the speed to maximize this effect.
Let Out the Hot Air
Anyone who takes a hot shower or prepares a warm meal knows that the resulting temperature shift in the room can stick around for a while. Turn on the fan in your bathroom and the exhaust fan in your kitchen after using the room, as this will expel the hot air that result from your activities.