By Jane Lasky
Summer is approaching, which means lazy days spent lounging under the sun, soaking in that good vitamin D and enjoying the warmth as heat replaces the chill of spring.
Opening up your electricity bill and realizing you are spending a lot more than you have budgeted to keep the house cool can quickly turn your moment of relaxation into one of remorse, don’t worry. There’s still time to trim back next month’s bill while saving energy at the same time.
Keep The Sunshine Out
For starters, when your thermostat shows you are at the optimum temperature, turn off your air conditioner and close your blinds to keep the cold air in and the hot air out. Even better, make use of any window treatments already in place, like room darkening curtains and other draperies meant to block the sun from barging into your abode.
The same holds true for your plantation shutters, cellular shades, roller shades or any other window treatment meant to control how much light gets in or out of your environment. In the heat of the day, shut these adornments so that not a single ray shines through.
Changing The Picture
After you do all you can to use existing materials to keep your house cool on the inside during the summer months, hire an expert to be sure your actual windows are doing their job.
Do you have leaks that let the heat in no matter what window treatment you are using? Do you use a window air conditioner that is not sealed correctly? If the answer is yes to either question, take more aggressive measures such as replacing old windows altogether.
If that isn’t an option—especially true if you are a renter—find a way to reverse this disadvantage. One option is to install certain window films that attach to the window frame. This is a great way to keep the sun’s rays from heating up your home.
Open And Shut
Another idea is to use caulking and weather stripping to fill any gaps. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that the cost of making these changes “will be offset through lower utility costs within one year.”
The Department of Energy also says that, “slightly larger or irregularly shaped gaps might better be filled with a small can of spray foam that will expand to fill the space.” Now that’s creative.
You can also get creative by getting into the practice of changing up existing window treatments to accommodate the season. Install roller shades or other select blinds as window treatments. Or, swap out see-through drapes or roman shades for room darkening curtains or other opaque draperies.
If you want to get fancy, put in plantation shutters that are both highly decorative and notable work horses when it comes to keeping the sun’s rays at bay on hot days, all while saving energy in the process. Now that’s a welcome window treatment if there ever was one.