The spring and especially summers in Florida can be a dismal if you are preparing correctly for the heat. The oppressive humidity combined with high temperatures has a tendency to zap your strength and the money from your wallet. Luckily, there are quite a few things you can do both to prepare for the heat and to counteract the humidity to keep your home cool and fresh, even before turning up the AC.
- •Get your air conditioner inspected. If you are using an AC unit, make sure to get it inspected well before the hot months to ensure that it is running at peak efficiency. If it’s more than about 10 years old, you may want to consider upgrading.
•Cook later in the day. Avoid using the stove, dryer, or other heat-generating appliances while the sun is out, especially at midday. You should also try to limit showering, dish washing or similar activities during these times, as theses activities can increase the humidity levels in the house.
•Use fans. A ceiling or portable fan can make you feel a few degrees cooler, reduce the level of moisture in the air, and are generally very energy efficient. Just be sure to turn them off when you leave a room.
•Turn the lights off. Get into the habit of turning off electric lights whenever possible. Incandescent light bulbs generate a lot of heat, so turning them off will not only save your energy bill, it will keep your home that much cooler.
•Shield the roof. The attic is generally the hottest part of the house, as it receives much of the heat absorbed by the sun. Shield your roof from the sun’s rays by painting it white or with a specially formulated reflective paint.
•Insulate. Adding more insulation to your attics and walls can reduce heat transfer and keep your home feeling cool. In fact, you can reduce cooling costs by as much as 10 percent by upgrading your insulation from 3 inches to 12 inches.
•Install window and door awnings. Apart from adding curbside appeal, window and door awnings serve to protect your home from direct sunlight during daylight hours.
•Close drapes and blinds during the day. Keep the sun out of your south-facing windows by making use of the blinds or drapes.
•Use heat-reflecting film on windows. This is an inexpensive solution, and effective especially if you choose to leave your blinds open during the day.
•Open windows at night. This can let out some of the hot air that has collected during the day and allow in any cool night breezes.
•Update appliances. Heat can come from unexpected sources, like the refrigerator. Updating your appliances for more energy-efficient models can help. In addition, be sure to turn off and unplug TVs and computers when not in use.
If you have additional tips for Florida residents be sure to provide your ideas in the comments below.