They’re called the “dog days” of summer — the hottest days of the year. They usually start mid-July and continue, well, they can continue for quite a while here in the upper Midwest. It’s the time of year we’re all looking for ways to keep cool, especially when we’re at home. But, hopefully, we don’t have to spend a fortune doing so. There are actually quite a few home cooling options for homeowners that won’t break the bank.
If you are feeling like your home is a bit stuffy this summer, fight the temptation to turn off your air conditioner and open a window – at least until you double check the humidity outside. Even on a day with a milder temperature, the humidity still plays a huge factor in your comfort. That’s why we are breaking down some of the ways to control indoor humidity on a sweltering summer day.
Stop Outside Air From Infiltrating
Like we’ve already mentioned – keep that AC running and those windows closed. It needs to be both cool and dry to truly enjoy the breeze from an open window.
In addition, it’s always good to make sure the envelope of your home has a proper seal. That means filling in cracks around the foundation, weather stripping around windows, and sealing the threshold of your doors and garage. Plus, stopping kids from running in and out of the house every few minutes will also keep outside air from infiltrating.
Remember that your AC not only does the job of cooling your home, but also dehumidifying it and conditioning the air from dust debris and other allergens. If you are worried about energy costs, you can set your air conditioner for a higher temperature, but don’t forget that once your AC reaches the desired temperature it will turn off and you may still feel moisture in the air if it hasn’t completely removed the humidity.
It’s a bummer if your thermostat stops working on a steamy summer day, but there are some quick things you can check to see if your thermostat is faulty or just needs a quick fix. Here are our top 5 things to check when troubleshooting your thermostat.
Check For Power
The type of thermostat you have – digital or mechanical dial – will determine how it gets its power.
“Most new thermostats are digital, some call them electronic,” says Keith Hill, manager of technical support at Minnesota Air. “They require a power source to operate. Some take their power from the furnace low voltage power supply – wired directly to the furnace – and some have batteries for their power supply. Some have both, wired power from the furnace and a battery backup so you don’t lose your programming during a power outage.”
If you have a thermostat that uses batteries, weak batteries should be something to look at right away. A quick battery change and you may be back in business.
With wired thermostats, you’ll want to make sure that a circuit breaker isn’t tripped or a fuse isn’t blown. Keith says that wired thermostats may have a blank screen if the furnace power is turned off or the furnace circuit is tripped. However, he reminds homeowners to also be patient.
Many people opt to convert a deck or add on a 3-season porch to their home to maximize their living space. Since 3-season porches have lots of windows and fewer walls, they can really help families enjoy the outdoors while being free from bugs, rain, or sun. However, heating and cooling the space can be one drawback because of all those windows that let indoor air escape. So what options do you have? Read on for our advice on heating and cooling your 3-season porch.
Use Portable Heating and Cooling Units
If you are using your 3-season porch regularly (throughout each season except winter), then you’ll know that seasons can be unpredictable; nice summer breezes one day, rainy and cold the next, and scorching and sunny after that. Because of that unpredictability, most people don’t keep their 3-season porch open to the rest of their home, since it’s not as well insulated and not as efficient at keeping warm or cool air inside.
Many homeowners will use portable heating and cooling devices, like portable ACs or space heaters to supplement comfort on those unpredictable days.
You may be one of those people looking to convert your garage into more of a living space. Whether you’re turning it into a woodworking shop, another place for entertaining, or even a man cave – repurposing your garage has become more and more popular over the years. However, keeping it as comfortable as the inside of your home can be a challenge, so that’s why many homeowners want to air condition the garage conversion – to keep it as cool as the rest of the house. Before you get started, here’s what you need to know about using AC to cool a garage conversion.
You’ll be throwing money out the window (or through the cracks in your garage) if the area isn’t insulated. Imagine how much wasted treated air will seep through your garage door, walls, or windows if you don’t take the effort to keep it inside. Insulated walls and especially an insulated garage door will ensure that you get what you are paying for and not just cooling the outside air in the process.
With insulation comes the need for proper ventilation. Since your garage will be soundly insulated to keep the cooled air inside, that also means you need to have a good ventilation system to keep stale, warm air and toxins out. If you have a stand-alone air conditioner, that means venting the hot air released by the AC out of the garage through a window, modified door, or actually creating a venting area so the hot air can be removed.
You don’t have to “go green” on everything to save a little green on your energy bills this summer. Here are our home energy tips on how to cut costs while you’re running the air conditioner this season.
Get An Air Conditioner Check Up
This is an easy one – you make the maintenance call and someone else does all the work. To keep your AC working the best it can, you need to keep it in peak operating condition, says Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air.
That means, “cleaned, well maintained, and with clean indoor air filters,” he says.
It’s a minimal fee for the maintenance which can pay off in fewer repair fees down the line.
Air Dry When Possible
Another simple idea that can really save money on electricity and cut down on the extra heat entering your home’s atmosphere is air drying. The U.S. Department of Energy lists air drying clothes and dishes (instead of using the drying cycle) as one of the easiest no-cost ways to save.
Summer is the season for enjoying the heat while also finding ways to keep cool. For example, after having fun at the beach, ballgame or park, it’s nice to return to a cool, comfortable, air conditioned home. Not to mention sleeping in comfort after a blistering hot summer day. So, if you’ve been jealous of the folks with AC, and plan to get a new air conditioner this summer, here’s what you need to know before an air conditioner installation.
Make Sure You Get The Right Size Unit
Bigger is not necessarily better when making upgrades to your air conditioner. According to our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air, the process leading up to a new AC installation is pretty straightforward — and finding the right size is step one.
“The pro needs to determine the size of the new unit,” he says. “If you’re replacing an old unit, you should not assume that the old unit is sized correctly. Larger units run less frequently and do a poor job of dehumidification.”
Homes that feel cooler but still have humidity trapped inside feel cold and clammy. They are not only uncomfortable, but can be unhealthy, especially to those suffering from allergies or other respiratory problems. A correctly sized unit won’t cool too quickly, so there will be the proper amount of time to also remove humidity.
We’re getting excited to feel that summer sun, but perhaps not as excited to pay that summer electric bill. To keep cool on the hottest days, we crank up the AC, turn on fans, and may even take refuge inside in front of the TV when it’s really steamy. So with all energy being used to keep you comfortable, how can you keep your electric bill comfortable, too? Here are our four ways to beat the heat and lower your electric bill.
It’s an arduous battle; one that has gone down in household history as a clash for the ages, repeating itself time and time again, year after year, season after season. It has been fought for what seems like eternities amongst young and old, man and woman, friend and foe: What temperature should your thermostat be set to?
All exaggerations aside, thermostat temperature really can be a household or workplace sticking point. It’s just hard to function when you’re uncomfortable.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of 5 battle-tested tips for setting your thermostat temperature in the summer to help settle some of those arguments.
Pick The Highest Temperature That You’re Comfortable With
It may come as no surprise that one of the best ways to stop fighting about where to set the thermostat (and save some money on your energy bill) is to find out what is the highest temperature that you’re all still comfortable. Your body adjusts depending on the difference between indoor and outdoor temperature, but a person who tends to be colder will want it set higher to maintain warmth and a person who runs hot, will usually want it turned down lower. Because of that, a general rule of thumb you should be to set your thermostat between 72-76 degrees in the summertime when you’re home.
Feeling that hot, sweltering, summer sun upon our faces may be nice for a day at the beach, but in our homes, we want to feel comfortable. That’s why Carrier designed its Infinity Control series to give you the most powerful control in home comfort yet! Here are some of its features that can help you beat the heat.