Turn this Summer’s Heat Wave Into a $weet $ave


By Caron Lopez – 

June’s cooling bills are beginning to soar and more is in store for Texas’ grueling heat through August! Follow these easy, cost-effective ways to manage the heat so you can keep more cash in your pocket. 

Sun Blocking on the Exterior

Twenty percent of the solar heat gained in your home comes from sunlight shining through windows, so shading your windows is a great way to start saving energy and money. On the west side of your home, plant shade trees, put up trellises with fast growing foliage or install awnings. Awnings can be retractable or stationary. Even with a blind on my west facing bath window, the heat would melt the makeup off of my face in the afternoon. A quality solar screen on the exterior of the window can affect a change instantly making the temperature inside much more pleasurable, as the sunlight is deflected before it can enter the glass. Not only will these items save on cooling cost, but they will also help stop fading of your floors and furniture. Screens for the patio can also make the area bearable and help with less sun entering the home.  

Sun Shading on the Interior

Today’s window treatments are fashionable and functional. Engineered with air pockets, honeycomb shades can deliver the best insulating rating and still let in enough light to avoid having to use artificial lighting during the day – two ways to save. Drapery, blinds, shutters, Roman shades and roller shades are products that uniquely protect, shade and insulate your windows. The bonus is the fashion statement that the different fabrics, texture and patterns bring to the room.

Chillin’ by Grillin’ 

As daytime outdoor temperatures soar and the air conditioner is running to keep up, the added heat from appliances such as ovens and cooktops needs to be addressed. I love it if I can get my teenagers to flip burgers outside on the grill or Dad to BBQ the main course, especially leaving leftovers for another meal and keeping my kitchen cool. An oven or boiling large pots of veggies on the kitchen cooktop can raise the temperature in your room five to ten degrees. Run other appliances such as the washer, dryer and dishwasher at times when the outdoor temperatures are lower, and there is less demand on your air conditioner.

 Good intentions of raising the temperature of the home’s thermostat when leaving and resetting as we come home leads to discomfort in our home, and sometimes, with crazy Texas weather, our air is on upstairs while the heat is on downstairs because the kids have changed the settings. Instal-ling a programmable thermostat can solve those problems and save you up to 20% of you electric bill if it is set correctly according to Rosenberg’s Howell Services. Thermostats that are easily programmed and installed generally cost under $100.

Tweeking the Leaks

Loosing cool air or gaining the hot air is a money drain. Examine areas around your home that may be the culprit. Focus on areas where pipes, ducts, vents and light passes through the ceiling or walls. Do not cover or insulate items that are sources of heat and may catch on fire. Check weather stripping on doors and windows and repair where needed.