Be cool this summer

We generally think of winter as the time of year that costs us the most money in terms of our energy bills. However, a particularly warm summer can be just as pricey when you tot up the cost of using fans, de-humidifiers, getting constant baths, air-conditioning and a whole new summer wardrobe of mankinis- come on guys, admit it, Borat is a trend setter!

The long list of pointers below will help you to keep cool this summer without costing the earth (sorry, I was going some kind of lame double meaning with that one)!

  • Open windows and use portable fan on low instead of using an air conditioner. It’s the still air that’s the real killer, so even mild air movement will make you feel much cooler.
  • Don't place lamps or TVs near your air conditioning thermostat. The heat from these appliances will cause the air conditioner to run longer.
  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Close curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day.
  • Install awnings on south-facing windows. Because of the angle of the sun, trees, a trellis, or a fence will best shade west-facing windows.
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity.
  • Grown on trellises- vines such as ivy or grapevines can shade windows or the whole side of a house.
  • Replace heavy or thick bed sets with lighter ones and get a duvet with a low tog value- low tog duvets are always sold in discount stores and cost hardly anything.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents; they produce the same light but use a fifth the energy and heat
  • Air-dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.
  • Use a microwave oven instead of a conventional electric range or oven.
  • Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and VCRs, into multi-port extension leads, and turn extension leads off when equipment is not in use.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater.
  • Take showers instead of baths to reduce hot water use.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Check to see that your fireplace damper is tightly closed.
  • Angle all blinds so that no direct sunlight is allowed into your home.
  • Strange but true- painting your home a lighter shade will prevent it from warming as much- though it will probably mean a whole summer of being outside which will kind of miss the point! This is really one for those who like to plan ahead- just think, you will be sitting pretty come 2010!
  • Upgraded insulation in the attic doesn’t just keep you warm in the winter it also keeps you cool in the summer. Though fairly pricey, unlike others methods of keeping cool, it is an investment that you will see a return for when you sell up.
  • Low E windows have the same effect, as does blackout lining in curtains.

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