Five tips to keep cool during the last days of summer


Beautiful Image of Mt. Hood taken during sunrise from Jonsrud view point in Sandy, Oregon, USA.

Hot summer days are still here, and many Oregonians may feel their homes and energy bills heating up. Energy Trust of Oregon offers five simple tips to help keep energy costs lower and improve comfort this season.

Five tips to cool off and save

  1. Power down to cool off
  • Home appliances, electronics and incandescent light bulbs create heat when they’re on. The less you use them on a hot day, the cooler you can be.
  • Upgrade to LED lights, which operate more efficiently and don’t give off excess heat.
  • Skip the oven and use the microwave, cook on the stovetop or grill outside.
  • Wait until you have a full load to run your clothes washer and dishwasher, and run them in the evening when it’s cooler. Let dishes air dry, wash clothes in cold water and hang them outside to dry if you can.
  1. Use windows strategically
  • Windows allow heat in when they’re open or uncovered during the day. Close windows, blinds, shades or curtains to keep heat outside. Light-colored window coverings help reflect heat away.
  • When temperatures drop, open your windows and doors to draw in cooler air at night or early in the morning.
  • Shield windows from the outside with blinds, awnings or shutters, and if you can, plant trees or tall shrubs to filter sunlight before it enters your home.
  1. Join the fan club
  • Use fans to keep air moving and help you feel cooler. They create a breeze that pulls perspiration away from your body. But remember that fans cool people, not rooms, so turn them off when you leave.
  • A fan in the window can pull cool air in and draw warm air out. Try using a box or window-mounted fan on the shady side of your home to draw in cool air. A second fan on the opposite side of the room or house can blow hot air out.
  • If you use air conditioning, a fan can allow you to raise the thermostat setting and still stay comfortable. If you buy a new ceiling fan, choose an ENERGY STAR® qualified model (available as a light/fan combination).
  1. Keep hot air out and cool air in
  • Sealing air leaks and insulating your home can reduce cooling and heating costs while making your home more comfortable all year long
  • Check for leaky windows and doors, as well as holes or cracks hidden in attics, basements and crawlspaces. Seal them with caulk, spray foam or weatherstripping.
  • After you’ve sealed air leaks, consider adding insulation. Energy Trust provides incentives for insulation and can connect homeowners with trade ally professionals to do the job right.
  1. Make the most of air conditioning
  • When no one is home, set the air conditioner or heat pump thermostat a few degrees higher than normal. When you are home, set the thermostat to 72-75 degrees.
  • Place electronics and lamps with incandescent bulbs away from the thermostat. The heat they produce can cause an air conditioner to work harder than necessary.
  • Check the system air filter regularly and change it when it looks dirty. A dirty filter makes the system work less efficiently and reduces air flow. Service the system each year.

Check out more low- and no-cost energy-saving tips for all seasons.