Between the heat and humidity, summers can get very hot on Long Island, leaving homeowners to wonder what they can do to combat rising utility bills. The best way to save money on cooling expenses is to reduce your cooling load or, in other words, take steps to stop your home from getting so hot in the first place.
To lower your cooling load, you need to implement a whole-house strategy that addresses both exterior and interior factors that lead to heat gain. Beginning with the exterior of your home, here are some suggestions for accomplishing this plan of action:
- Shade your roof and windows, as these are the primary points of entry for external heat; plant trees to protect your roof, and build overhangs and awnings over large windows.
- Apply caulking and weatherstripping around all exterior doors and windows to create an airtight seal that prevents outdoor air from leaking in.
- Add shutters to your windows to ward off sunlight on hot days.
- Install sun screens over your windows to reflect sunlight and prevent heat gain.
- Inspect all exterior faucets, electrical outlets and vents to ensure there are no gaps or cracks.
Moving inside, continue to reduce your cooling load by using these strategies:
- Install ceiling fans that hang at least 8 feet above the floor and 9 to 12 inches below the ceiling, and use air circulators to create a pleasant draft on hot days.
- Use heavy drapes or blinds over large windows to stop sunlight and prevent heat from entering the room.
- Seal all air leaks originating from the interior of the home, paying particular attention to attics, basements and crawlspaces.
- Seal and insulate all exposed air ducts.
- Avoid turning on your stove on hot days; instead, use your microwave oven or prepare meals using an outdoor barbecue.
- Keep your use of overhead lights and lamps to a minimum.
- Close all windows while you’re running your air conditioner.
If you’d like more energy-saving tips, or if you’d like a professional assessment of your home’s cooling load, please contact us at Cool Power, LLC. We’ve been helping Long Island residents save money on home heating and cooling costs since 1975.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about cooling loads and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.