A great way to save money as a homeowner is to increase your home's overall energy efficiency so you can decrease your reliance on your air conditioning system when it's hot outside. In addition to making sure that the basement, attic, and main rooms in your home are well insulated, there are a few easy things you can do to further increase your household's energy efficiency and naturally keep things cool indoors—consider implementing one or more of the following options:
Dress the Windows Up
Dressing your windows up is one of the most effective ways to reduce heat gain throughout your household. Start by using caulking or spray foam insulation to seal all of your window's frames so unwanted air and moisture can't make its way inside. After the seal dries, install new reflective blinds in front of all of your windows. When sunny windows in your home are fitted with highly reflective blinds that are fully lowered and closed, you can reduce heat gain by up to a whopping 45 percent. Your reflective blinds can also be used to block direct sunlight and reflect it to your ceiling. As long as your ceiling is painted a light color, the diffusion won't result in any heat gain or glare.
Plant a Few Trees in the Yard
Planting a few trees in your yard is a great way to improve your home's overall energy efficiency. In fact, properly placed trees can reduce your air conditioning needs by up to 30 percent in the summer time. And during winter months, those same trees can reduce your household's heating needs by 20 to 50 percent. Plant your new trees in front of windows and patios that get direct sunlight during the day, as well as near your exterior HVAC unit.
Deciduous trees are a great option because they have large leaves in the summer that will naturally shade your home and provide a wind block for your property. During winter months, deciduous trees lose their leaves so the sun can naturally heat your home up. Consider planting yellow poplar, Russian olive, or sweet gum trees. Make sure you know exactly how big your new trees will get once mature so you can plant them far enough away from your home that their branches won't damage your roof if the break off in extreme weather as they're growing.
In addition to improving your home's overall energy efficiency, these tips and techniques should help to create a comfortable living space for your entire family.