10 Ways to Keep Your Rental Home Cool
The high heat of summer can make keeping cool a challenge. Some rental properties may have central or localized air conditioning, but there is still the cost of electricity to consider. Weather and temperature affect South and West-facing homes at the top of buildings the most. Here are a few budget-conscious ways to beat the heat.
1. Use Interior Blinds. All you need to do is block the sun. Budget blinds and curtains help control heat from the sun. Reduce heat gain by up to 30% by totally covering your windows, and 45% if you use reflective blinds.
2. Watch The Thermostat. According to the Department of Energy, “by turning your thermostat back 10 degrees to 15 degrees for eight hours, you can save five percent to 15 percent a year on your cooling bill.” The Department of Energy advises residents to set their thermostat to 78 degrees when they’re home in the summer, and five to 10 degrees higher when they’re out of the house.
3. Check Your Air Ducts. Registers and ventilation panels should be sealed around the edges, not “floating” in a hole on your floor. Fixing these air leaks in the ductwork is simple and requires some caulk, yet it can improve your air conditioning system’s efficiency by more than 20%.
4. Change the A/C Filter. Consider yourself lucky if you have air conditioning; however, you should periodically replace the air filter. They are cheap, yet they keep your system running for far longer. A dirty A/C unit has to work harder to keep the rooms cool, turn on more often, and waste energy. A clean filter can save you big on annual utility costs. Watch this Invitation Homes video to learn how to change a filter.
5. Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs. The next time a bulb burns out, consider replacing it with an eco-friendly bulb. Not only will you save a great deal of money, but incandescent bulbs produce 4-5 times as much heat as energy-efficient products.
6. Use Your Ceiling Fans. There are a number of factors that have a surprising impact on how effectively the fan cools its room:
- If you have not done so already, it might be a good idea to double-check how low your fan hangs from the ceiling. For the best air circulation, they should be set 10-12” from the ceiling. Fans hung from high or vaulted ceilings need to be lower.
- Periodically clean the top of the fan. Lint, dust, and other dirt builds up and creates drag. A surprising number of people have dust trails curling over the blade’s surface.
- Be careful when adjusting blade height. Near-horizontal blades experience the least air resistance. Increasing the blade’s angle will force more air, but the motor will have to work harder. This could decrease the lifespan of older or weaker models.
- For most rooms, your ceiling fans should be set to spin counterclockwise.
7. Invite a Cross-Breeze. A nice breeze flowing between two windows can cool your house several degrees. Additionally, rotate the open windows as the sun moves around the house during the day. This way you can close the blinds on the sun.
8. Eat More, Smaller Meals. Large meals use more energy to digest. After large meals your body temperature increases as your metabolism kicks in. Try eating cold meals like fruit salads and cereal on the hottest days. Even a few ice cubes in your drink lowers your body temperature.
When you do need to cook, consider easy-prep meals or using the grill instead of firing up the oven. A hot kitchen lingers in your home if you do not have air conditioning.
9. Use Bathroom Ventilation during Showers. If your fans and vents are turned off, even cold showers will cause mold to grow in corners and raise the humidity level of the house. Damp air will make you sweaty and uncomfortable. Also try to take showers in the late evening or early morning.
10. Find Reasons to Leave Home. The biggest reasons to head out is to save on money and avoid your home when it gets too hot. Museums, shopping centers, and other indoor places will have air conditioning. Parks are nice, especially when enjoying a good book in the shade. Having your lights, television, air conditioning, and fans off will cut energy costs.