Throughout the summer months, far too many families engage in excessive AC use. While there’s no denying that air conditioning is an important and effective home cooling aid, it shouldn’t be the only thing your family relies on to beat the heat. In addition to helping reduce your collective carbon footprint, limiting AC use can be a boon to your finances. So, if a cost-effective, energy-efficient summer is what you’re after, take care to consider the following pointers.

Utilize High-Quality Ceiling Fans 

Dependable ceiling fans can prove invaluable in your quest for a cost-effectively cooled residence. For starters, well-placed ceiling fans can efficiently distribute the cool air generated by your home’s air conditioning system. They can also be used to circulate cool air from outdoors throughout your home, making them ideal for anyone who lives in an area that experiences nighttime cooldowns during the summer months. In addition, by setting the blades to spin counterclockwise, you can enable your ceiling fans to create cool breezes that flow downward. 

If you’re currently in the market for new fans, remember to take the size of your home, the height of your ceilings and your general décor into account. For example, if you hail from a rural area, high-quality farmhouse ceiling fans may be right up your alley.

Invest in Energy-Efficient Windows 

Most of us lose quite a bit of air through our windows, regardless of whether they’re opened or closed. This is particularly true in the case of traditional single-paned windows, which are often ill-equipped to seal in cool air and prevent warm air from entering. Furthermore, the more cool air you lose through your windows, the harder your air conditioning system has to work to maintain a consistent temperature – and the higher your utility bills are likely to be. 

With this in mind, consider making the switch to energy-efficient windows. Although they come with higher price tags than their single-paned contemporaries, energy-efficient windows can help reduce your household’s carbon footprint and save you a bundle in energy costs. These windows can also prove very useful during the chilly winter months, when they can effectively seal in warm air and keep cold air at bay. So, if you’re willing to make a short-term financial sacrifice, you’re likely to enjoy considerable savings down the line.  

Hang Blackout Curtains 

If energy-efficient windows are outside of your budget, consider equipping your home’s windows with blackout curtains. By minimizing the amount of sunlight that finds its way inside, these curtains can help you maintain consistently cool indoor temps. In addition, the thick materials of which they’re composed make them well-equipped to seal in cool air and prevent warm air from gaining entrance, which can help take some of the strain off your AC. As an added bonus, blackout curtains can effectively prevent the early-rising summertime sun from disrupting your sleep schedule and hampering melatonin production. 

Commit to Using Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs 

Using traditional incandescent light bulbs in this day and age is ill-advised for a number of reasons. For starters, these bulbs have significantly shorter lifespans than energy-efficient LEDs and CFLs. So, while they may cost a bit less in the short term, they also need to be replaced more often than energy-efficient bulbs, thus costing you more in the long run. Furthermore, incandescents consume more power than their more efficient alternatives, which contributes to your carbon footprint and increases energy costs.   

Incandescents can also prove detrimental to your home cooling efforts, as they burn hotter and give off more heat than energy-efficient bulbs. So, if your home is filled with lighting fixtures that contain incandescent bulbs, this may explain why temps in certain areas are warmer than you’d prefer. By making the switch to energy-efficient bulbs, you can lay the groundwork for cooler indoor temperatures, reduced energy costs and a smaller carbon footprint.  

There are numerous benefits to breaking your household’s overreliance on air conditioning. For starters, minimizing AC use is a win for the environment and can effectively reduce your family’s carbon footprint. Secondly, giving the air conditioning a break is a great way to save money and free up funds for other expenditures. Fortunately, cooling your home in an energy-efficient and cost-effective manner is nearly as daunting as some households make it look – especially with the tips outlined above.