Ways to Stay Cooler Naturally and Save

Air conditioners make life so much better in summer, but we are often asked if they are bad for the environment.

The answer is no. Today’s air conditioner are more eco-friendly that the old CFC-using models of the 1980s. The problem with CFCs is that they depleted the ozone layer. But now, air conditioners use refrigerants that are WAY better. Called R-410A or Puron, they are virtually harmless.

The only potential problem with air conditioners is that they do use energy. If you use them wisely, however, they don’t have to use much. With electricity bills soaring in Ontario, many people are making it a priority to use their air conditioner as little as possible. The good news is that there are lots of ways to reduce your cooling costs by keeping your home cooler to begin with.

Add Landscaping

Planting trees around your house will provide shade that can add up to big savings. While it does take many years to see the benefit, a few trees between the sun and your home will pay off significantly.

There are other benefits too – adding trees and other landscaping to your property can increase the value of your home by up to 28%. Just make sure you research and find the right tree for your size of property and the best location to plant them- you don’t want roots interfering with your plumbing, your gas line, or your foundation.

If adding trees doesn’t make sense in your yard, shade the outdoor unit of your air conditioner. Called a condenser, its job is to disperse the heat removed from the inside of your home. The cooler you keep your condenser, the better it can do its job. As long as the condenser has a foot or two of open space on every side, you can add fencing or shrubs to keep it shaded.

Keep Southern and Western Exposure Windows Shaded

You know what it’s like when you get into a car that’s been sitting in the sun for a few hours. Well, your home experiences the “hot car effect” too. Called “passive solar gain”, it’s all about sunlight getting in through windows, heating up the air inside, which then has nowhere else to go.

You can reduce passive solar gain by keeping blinds or drapes closed on any windows that face south or west.

Change What You Eat

In summer when the heat is on, you don’t need to add to it.

Instead of using your stove or oven, change your meal plan so you’re eating more healthy salads, fresh fruit and other cool meals. If you must have heated foods, consider using your microwave instead, or treat yourself to a restaurant meal. And of course, nothing says summer like an outdoor barbecue!

Avoid Using Other Heat-Making Appliances

Use your clothes dryers, hair dryers, and irons in the evening or early morning. And if it is really hot, why not use the outside clothesline and eliminate the clothes dryer altogether? On the light side, use LED light bulbs which generate less heat than incandescent light bulbs do.

Rearrange Your Furniture

If you have couches, long drapes or other furniture blocking vents, move things around so that there’s no interference with the airflow in your home.

Maintenance Matters

Keeping your air conditioner in good working order will mean it can perform more efficiently. A yearly service check will also find small problems before they become large ones and extend the lifespan of the machine.

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