BOULDER – Summer’s here – along with the backyard barbecues, pool parties, and the scorching sun. Here in the Boulder Valley, summertime undoubtedly delivers some of the best weather of the year – but our elevation means that UV-B rays are up to 50 percent higher than those found at sea level at similar latitudes. We all know the ways we can protect ourselves from too much sun, but what about our homes? I’ve gathered seven tips to make sure your casa stays cool all summer long.
Think summertime is perfect for fruity quick breads and cookies for cookouts? We all do – but cranking your oven heats your home’s interior, requiring your A/C to work that much harder. Consider other methods of cooking like outdoor grilling, which allows you to enjoy Boulder’s incredible summer weather that much more. Can’t help but bake? Try using your oven in the cooler morning hours.
Train your thermostat
Still using a manual thermostat at home? Consider replacing it with an automatic one that keeps your home warmer while you’re out. I dig the Nest thermostat, which quickly learns your around-the-house habits.
Shades wide shut
If you’re running errands, headed to yoga, or going out for a bike ride (sunscreen, please!), shut your blinds, shades or other window treatments to block out the sun’s rays. You’ll be surprised how much cooler this makes your rooms, and your A/C won’t have to work so hard.
Increase air circulation
Grandma was onto something: oscillating fans and box fans are great for moving air around your home, giving your A/C a much-needed break. In the summer, still air often means hot air, so get a breeze going inside for added relief for you and your energy bill. Yep, I’m talking ceiling fans, too.
Shorten shower time
Short, cool showers are a great way to cool off and conserve energy during the summer. Want to up-level? Consider switching to a tankless water heater, which heats water on demand. This is an alternative to the traditional tank water heater, which keeps a reserve of hot water ready at all times.
Install energy-efficient bulbs
Switch out incandescent bulbs to more efficient ones, like CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs or LEDs. These efficient alternative bulbs use less energy and emit a brighter light. They also last longer, which saves you money. Win-win, folks.
Examine your A/C’s ducts
What’s the point in cooling your home if half the air is blowing into the attic? Be sure to examine the ductwork, connections, and vents in your home to ensure tight, proper – ergo, efficient – seals. Need assistance? Your go-to HVAC guy will be happy to help.
By Sean McIllwain, Mod Boulder Real Estate