4 Easy Ways to Keep Your Cool This Summer

Simple tips to help you stay comfortable while reducing energy costs - even during heat waves.

It’s officially summer! When heat and humidity strike, it can be tempting to crank the A/C and hibernate. But there are easy ways to keep cool while using less energy (even if you keep the air conditioning on). Try these simple money- (and planet-) saving strategies to help keep your family cool this summer.

Meal Plan for Summer

Keep the kitchen cool by minimizing stove and oven use, especially during heat waves. Try no-cook meals like summer salads or use the BBQ instead. There are also certain foods that help you feel cooler (like watermelon) and some that make you feel warmer (ironically enough, one of them is ice cream, though I’m still going to use it as an excuse to cool down!).

Program Your Thermostat

We are often conditioned to indoor temperatures much colder than they need to be. If you need a sweater in your house or you feel noticeably chilled when you come in from the heat, try raising the thermostat a few degrees. Air conditioning removes humidity from the air which makes you feel cooler without necessarily dropping the temperature. Set your thermostat higher when you’re out of the house (26-28°C or 79-81°F is a good range). When you are home, don't automatically drop the temperature below 26°C (79°F). Try dropping it half a degree at a time if you’re too warm.

Use Your Windows

Just as they are the biggest source of heat loss in the winter, windows can be a significant source of heat gain in the summer. Help keep your home cooler by keeping curtains and blinds closed during the day – especially on south and west-facing windows. As the sun sets, check the temperature outside. If the temperature and humidity has dropped (and you don’t have allergies, asthma, or a light sleeper to contend with), turn off the air conditioning and open the windows to cool down over night. Just be sure to close them again before it heats up the next morning.

Ceiling Fans

While they might not be an interior decorator’s dream, ceiling fans are a low-energy way to keep you feeling cooler. Combining ceiling fans with air conditioning can help you set your thermostat a couple degrees warmer, while still feeling cool. Without air conditioning, they can make the summer heat a little more comfortable. They’re especially great for bedrooms!

By using some passive strategies to keep your house cool, you’ll help reduce your energy bill without sacrificing comfort. To save even more money, check whether your utility has time of use billing and shift things like laundry and the dishwasher to off-peak times. The Ontario Peak Saver program can also be used to help dial back your air conditioner without you having to think about it. Get the kids involved too, so they understand that small changes can help them feel more comfortable. It’ll only take a few days of conscious effort to make these simple changes, but once you’re in the routine you’ll be saving energy without having to think about it!