The month of May is not always everyone’s favorite time of the year in Arizona – spring is slinking away, and summer is stirring from its slumber, ready to remind you of what that special desert heat feels like. If you haven’t already, the time is approaching to wake up your A/C unit from its hibernation. Fortunately for our Shea Homes® homeowners, most Shea homes carry the ENERGY STAR label and use up to 20-30 percent less energy than other non-certified new homes, which means a percentage of your current bill could be going to something else! Together, families who purchased homes earning the ENERGY STAR label save more than $350 million each year on their utility bills.
That can help keep your costs low and your house cool!
But before you fully flip the air conditioning switch, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep things cool on your own! Here are five simple tips that will keep you feeling comfortable without cranking the air conditioning:
Flip your Fan
This trick takes less than 30 seconds but can have a tremendous impact on how your house feels. Your ceiling fan spins two ways: clockwise, and counter-clockwise. In the winter you should be operating the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction, which produces a gentle updraft and forces warm air near the ceiling down into the room. Setting it counter-clockwise during toasty times will circulate the air and push the cool air down towards you, treating you to a cool breeze. Double check the switch at the base of your fan to be sure you’re spinning the right way!
Fire Up the Grill
May is the perfect barbeque season! Warm enough for an outdoor get-together but not yet pushing 115 degrees. Clean out your grill and refill the propane, because cooking outdoors can help keep things cool indoors. It may seem obvious but heating your oven to 400 degrees will invariably make things warmer. Put that grill to good use and you’ll be rewarded with happy friends and a refreshingly cool house.
Save Chores for After Dark
It’s not just your oven that will heat up your home. Laundry machines, dishwashers, and clothes irons all put off heat. And while no one expects you to forgo doing laundry all summer, you can keep your home comfortable by doing chores outside the hottest times of the day. Save running your appliances until evening, when you won’t have to sweat while you fold your clothes.
Shut the Blinds
It’s called the greenhouse effect: sunlight and heat creep through your windows but have nowhere to escape to, so they hang around like the unwelcome guests they are, accounting for up to 30% of the unwanted heat in your home. So, when the sun is out, keep your blinds closed; doing just this can lower mid-day temperatures by almost 20 degrees! Bonus points if your blinds are light-colored, which will reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it. But if you hate the cave-like feeling this creates, focus on west- and south-facing windows, which get hit the hardest.
Your bathroom’s exhaust fan is a handy little appliance – it’s simple and runs at a low cost but can pull some serious weight when it comes to cooling down your home by sucking up hot and humid air and pushing it outside. Put it to work during summer months, when the heat from your shower threatens to leak out from the bathroom and warm up the rest of your home. Instead of turning it off right when you finish a shower, leave the fan on for 20 more minutes to properly remove the lingering heat. And for a bonus tip: cold showers! Soaking under cold water will lower your body’s surface temperature, and lock moisture into your skin, keeping you cool for longer after you step out of the shower. Plus, cold showers have been shown to help in other healthy ways, so you’ll be looking your best all summer!
To learn more about Shea’s energy efficient homes, visit www.sheahomes.com.