Design Dilemma: 10 Ways to Keep Cool Without an Air-Conditioner | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: 10 Ways to Keep Cool Without an Air-Conditioner

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Who says you have to blast an air-conditioner to keep your home cool during the hottest days of summer? In fact, with rising energy costs and more awareness of the impact our energy use is having on the earth, more of us are embracing the common-sense cooling habits that were practiced before air-conditioning became common.  You don’t have to consume a lot of electricity to keep your house cool!

Here are a few basic ways to help bring down the temperature in your home:

1) Keep south and west facing windows covered during the hottest part of the day. You can use blinds on these windows which you close during the hours that the sun is likely to come streaming in, or you might invest in awnings which can help shade your windows if there is insufficient roof overhang.

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2) Invest in ceiling fans. These fans have long been used in warm climates in South America and in warm states in North America. That’s because they are an effective and low-cost way to keep air circulating in a room, helping it to feel cooler.  By reversing the direction of the paddles on these fans, you can also find an effective way to circulate warmer air during the winter months.

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3) Capitalize on cool air when you can find it. In other words, throw open your windows and doors during the cool evening hours to allow fresh air to naturally cool your home. You will get the most impact from this important strategy by placing window fans facing out on the downwind side of your home.

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4) Make use of shade trees and strategic plantings. A well-placed shade tree can make a dramatic difference in the temperature in your home. You will benefit the most by planting trees that will cast shadows on the southwestern exposure of your home. Look for large deciduous trees like oaks, sycamores and elms. You can also use more plants around your home in both the landscape but also in the hardscape, to provide humidity and a sense of coolness. Opting to train ivy to cover the exterior of your home can also help cool things down by absorbing heat and reducing reflection.

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5) Paint your roof white. A white roof reflects heat and keeps it out of your attic!

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6) Replace your incandescent bulbs. Compact flourescent bulb can emit up to 75 percent less heat.

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7) Turn off appliances and electronics when you can. Televisions, lamps and many other types of appliances generate heat. Turning these appliances off may help keep your home a few degrees cooler.

8.) Use your hood fan. Most of us have these fans, but few of us use them as often as we should. Since cooking generates heat a range fan can help vent all that hot air back outside.

9) Apply a window tint. Of course, light-colored blinds and curtains can help reduce the heat in a home, but so can 3M window film which also cuts down on UV rays that can fade your upholstery and carpets.

10) Insulate! Perhaps nothing will so dramatically effect your comfort level as really good insulation. If you have an older home, you may have very little insulation at all. If your home is newer, it may still be time to update. By making this one little change you can be guaranteed not only a cooler summer, but a warmer winter!

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