With summer fast approaching, it's not too early to take steps to keep your home comfortable and use energy efficiently. Most often, the first thought is cranking up the A/C or sending the kids out to run through the sprinkler, but there are other options.
Much of our home's heat we feel in the summer comes from solar energy absorbed by the roof, which then radiates into the attic, eventually working its way into your home. An attic with adequate ventilation can help keep this heat out. Gable, soffit and roof vents (among other options) can lower the temperature in your attic by 30 degrees in the summer according to the Department of Energy. An attic needs a year-round flow of natural air, provided your insulation is R-38 or greater, but make sure your attic soffit vents are not covered with insulation.
When looking for energy efficient options for cooling your home, a whole house fan is something to consider. This type of fan pulls air in through open windows and exhausts hot air through the attic or roof, flushing out the built-up heat and cooling your home in the process.
Among other fan options, the ceiling fan is the most effective because it creates a wind-chill factor on your skin, making a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler while using just 10 percent of the energy of central air conditioning. Also, running the fan on your furnace will pull cool air from your basement and circulate it throughout your home. Both options may be all you need to cool your home in the evening and minimize your air conditioning cost.Speaking of air conditioning, if your A/C system is more than 12 years old, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR qualified model for additional energy savings.