Air conditioning vs. fresh air: 10 ways to “keep our cool”

therm risingAt the start of every summer, as the temperature rises, my husband and I seem to have the same discussion… when to turn on the air conditioning!

This is never an easy discussion (okay! read: argument!) as this is the man who wears shorts and t-shirts around the house when it’s 19 degrees outside in the dead of winter.

I prefer the open windows and doors, and want to breathe the fresh air.  To this my husband responds “Babe, it ceases to be fresh as soon as it’s 85 degrees with 70% humidity!”  Well, it’s still fresh but I guess it does cease to be RE-freshing!

Just like heating your house in the winter and whether you do or don’t choose to crank the AC, there are ways to keep your house cooler, stop some of the cool air loss and use less energy in the process:

  • Close blinds or curtains in various windows throughout the day to prevent the sun shining in.  If it’s coming in, so is the heat.
  • Use ceiling fans. They circulate the cool air and don’t use a lot of energy.
  • Program your thermostat.  No need to keep it blasting in the evening or when you aren’t even home.
  • When it’s cool outside at night, shut off the air, open the windows and take advantage.
  • 74 degrees is all you need.  This is a bearable temperature, and if you can tolerate it higher, do it!  Each degree saves 3-4% on your cooling/energy expenses.
  • Don’t worry about unused rooms.  Close the windows, doors and vents in these rooms, and block the bottom of the door if they aren’t frequently occupied.ceil fan
  • Run appliances at night.  This includes dryers & dishwashers that give off heat. Avoid using your oven… give it a rest and grill instead!  And if you do use the stovetop, be sure to use the exhaust fan to take away the heat.
  • Turn off unneeded lights, TVs, computers, etc. when you aren’t using them.  They all generate heat too.
  • Keep heat generating appliances away from the thermostat (TVs, lamps, etc.).  They’ll make the thermostat think it’s hotter than it really is.
  • Don’t chop down trees that shade your house.  They simply keep a house cooler.  And even plant strategically.  Shaded AC units run more efficiently, but just be sure not to block the airflow.

I do try to take my own advice.  It’s not always easy (living with my husband who compensates by turning up the ceiling fans to “jet speed”) but it’s a compromise we always seem to manage when it all “boils down”!

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7 thoughts on “Air conditioning vs. fresh air: 10 ways to “keep our cool”

  1. I do a lot of these things and can prevent using our in window airconditioner on all but the hottest days. Closing windows in the am and opening them in the cool of the night really helps. Unfortunately, my daughter who lives in the city and has a son with asthma has to run the AC for him once pollen and other things start.

  2. My husband and I have the same “discussion”. I love open windows and the fans on. I crave fresh air! He wants the house closed up – blinds and all – and the AC on. Oh and the TV really loud. He is lucky he is soooooooo hunky.

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  4. This will never work in South Florida. It gets so humid outside, and we can reach temps in the 90’s most days. Even when it rains and there is no such thing as the of the night. I guess that’s the price we pay for no winters.

  5. Oh how I wish some of these were an option around here but when it’s 100+ and very humid you can’t open windows and you have to run the a/c. People in Oklahoma have been getting sick, don’t think anyone has died yet but it’s early in the summer for us to get this kind of heat. I keep out a/c at 75 during the day but it can’t keep up.

    The other day I was in a skirt and tank top and had to keep pouring cold water on my head to stay cool. We are making and eating a lot of ice cream and iced tea around here. *sigh*

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