Tips to stay cool as Oregon heats up


Mother and daughter watering garden plants

With temperatures across Oregon already topping triple digits in June, now is the time to learn how to keep your home cool and comfortable. Here are a few no-cost and low-cost tips to make your home more pleasant during summer heat waves and save energy, too.

Power down to cool off. Home appliances, electronics and standard incandescent light bulbs create heat when they’re on. The less you use them on a hot day, the cooler you’ll be.

  • Replace old incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR® LEDs. LEDs use less energy, last longer and produce very little heat compared to standard bulbs. Check out our interactive tool to help you find the right bulb for your fixtures.
  • 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, use cold water and hang clothes outside to dry.
  • Run your dishwasher in the evening when it’s cooler, and let dishes air dry.

Use your windows strategically. Windows allow heat into your home when they’re open or uncovered during the day.

  • During the day, close your windows and close the blinds, shades or curtains to keep heat outside. Light-colored window coverings help reflect heat.
  • When temperatures drop at night or early in the morning, open your windows and doors to draw in cooler air.
  • Consider adding a low-emission film to the panes to reduce heat entering your home.
  • Shield windows from the outside with blinds, awnings or shutters and plant trees or tall shrubs to filter sunlight before it enters your house.

Join the fan club. Fans keep air moving and help you feel cooler, even if you have air conditioning. They create a breeze that pulls perspiration away from your body.

  • Use a portable fan or ceiling fan. Remember to turn them off when you leave the room to conserve energy; fans cool you, not the room. If you have a ceiling fan, make sure it is set to blow air downward.
  • If you use air conditioning, a fan can allow you to raise the thermostat setting by a few degrees and still stay comfortable.
  • When it’s cool outside, use fans in windows to pull cool air in and draw warm air out. A box fan or window-mounted fan on the north side or shady side of your house can draw in cool air. A second fan on the opposite side of the house can blow hot air out.
  • If you’re buying a ceiling fan, choose an ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fan/ light combination unit, which is about 60 percent more energy efficient than conventional fan/light units.

Investing in additional home upgrades like installing insulation and upgrading to energy-efficient windows can make your home even more comfortable for summer and winters to come. Learn more about these upgrades and find a qualified Energy Trust trade ally contractor near you who can complete your project and help you get cash incentives.

Find more tips on keeping your cool here.