Whether you have a brand new build or a 100 year old home, there are some ways to make the hot summer months even better. From AC options to water toys to smart features, here are some gadgets and tips for surviving the summer in your home!
Replace your Windows
Keeping the house cool during hot weather can be a pain, especially when the existing windows are single-pane. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient windows will help keep the cool air in, and in turn, lower how much you need to use your AC and save you some money.
Garden/Alternative Grass for Water Runoff
Summer is the time to upgrade your yard and doing so can help your water run off. Having poor water runoff systems will lead to a muddy lawn and potential water in your basement. One change you can make is to plant alternative greenery on your lawn instead of common grass. Native grasses, moss, clover, and Creeping Charlie are all great low-maintenance grass alternatives that don't grow very tall but have much longer root systems that help absorb much more water than conventional grass.
Another option is to plant a garden of flowers or produce. A garden will aid in water retention as well as look beautiful or generate helpful homegrown produce!
If you have an older home, an easy to program thermostat may not be something that was installed when you moved in. Installing a thermostat that you can program to lower the AC while you aren't home and bring it back up at night when you want the house cool will save you not only the trouble of constantly changing the temperature but also energy costs in the long run. Leaving the AC on full blast while you aren't home wastes energy, especially if you implemented other ways to keep your home extra cool. Replacing your thermostat is a cost-efficient upgrade to any home. Step into a cool home without wasting money because your thermostat turns the AC on 30 min before you get home!
Clean Refrigerator Coils
Cleaning the inside of your refrigerator might cross your mind, but does cleaning the back coils? Refrigerator coils release excess heat in order to cool your food, but when they are dirty and clogged they can reduce the efficiency of your appliance as well as build up excess heat. The coils on the back of your refrigerator often collect dust, pet hair, and dirt causing issues. Take a vacuum cleaner hose or a wet rag to the coils and increase the efficiency of your refrigerator.
Invest in Outdoor Water Toys and Even a Pool
One of the most fun ways to beat the heat in the summer is to invest in outdoor water toys or even a pool! If you have kids or just like lounging in the mist, buying outdoor water toys like sprinklers, water balloons, or spray mister can help keep you cool during the summer, and also be a lot of fun! If you have the yard space, now is the time to start thinking about investing in a pool for your home. Having the option to cool down in your backyard rather than having to travel elsewhere after work is a HUGE plus for many people, especially if you enjoy spending time outside or if you have a beautiful yard.
Look into AC Options
There are 8 different kinds of AC units you can have for your home, all varying in cost, ability for your home, and efficiency. Often older homes don't have AC installed due to age or being a radiant heating system. If your home doesn't have AC, or you have one form that is not accomplishing what you want, it might be time to look into your options. The different options available are:
Central Air Conditioner
Window Air Conditioner
Portable Air Conditioner
Floor Mounted AC
Hybrid / Dual Fuel Air Conditioner
Smart Air Conditioner
Geothermal Air Conditioner
The options available for Radiant heat/ boiler systems without updating your heating system are:
Split Central Air Systems
Window Air Conditioning
Packaged HVAC Systems
Each option has its positives and negatives, so take time to decide what is right for you.
Upgrading your outdoor seating area is another great addition to the summer upgrade list! If you have a patio, deck, or space you like to hang out in your yard, adding comfortable seating or an umbrella stand can upgrade your outdoor enjoyment and keep you cool.
Update Your Insulation
It might be time to check your insulation if you have an older home. Insulation blocks heat from entering the home in the summer and holds heat in during the winter, which results in a cooler home in the summer, warmer home in the winter, and lower energy bills. It's something that only has to be done once (insulation lasts around 80-100 years or fiberglass batts after 15 to 20) in a home and can make a huge difference!
Invest in High-Quality Curtains
Large windows are beautiful but can be a reason your home gets so warm. Blackout curtains and shades are a way to lower the temperature in your home by reducing the amount of heat that is transferred via your windows by as much as 24 percent, keeping the rooms where they are installed cooler in summer and warmer in winter. This will allow you to use your heating and cooling system more efficiently and save energy.
Re-program Your Fans to Turn Counterclockwise
One helpful and free tactic to keep your home cool is to check your overhead fan direction. If you have an overhead fan/light fixture, there is a switch on the base that changes the direction the blades revolve. The airflow directly underneath the ceiling fan should push down, creating a wind-chill effect, which is going to make you feel cool. Reversing your fan, to a clockwise direction, creates a gentle updraft, recirculating heat down. Making sure your fan is set to counterclockwise or often called “summer mode” can help the airflow in your home tremendously.
Swap Seasonal Items like Blankets and Declutter
Now is the time to swap your seasonal items inside your home! Though the fuzzy plush blankets and warm-toned items are nice and cozy, they don't do well in the summer. Look into getting light-colored, linen or knit items for the beds and living spaces. Wide knit blankets allow more airflow while keeping the weight and comfort of your winter blankets and light-colored or linen items are lightweight and keep heat from being trapped. Not only changing textiles but items and trinkets to a summer feel can often change your perception as well! Light colors, cool tones and summer-themed objects all get our minds in summer mode and can trick us into feeling cooler or wanting to be outside in the sun.
If you were worried about the summer heat and tasks this year, hopefully these home renovations, tips and psychology tricks will help you be ready for another fun and sunny season!