Reducing Heat Sources

Heat generated from within the house can contribute significantly to the costs of cooling. Here are a few suggestions to help reduce or contain heat from within:

Turn off incandescent lights. Only 5% of the energy that goes into a typical incandescent bulb comes out as light. The remaining 95% comes out as heat! Switch to compact fluorescents - they give off 90% less heat, as well as using 75% less energy. Initially more expensive, they are actually much less expensive than incandescents in the long run because they use less energy and last up to 10 times longer.

Cook with microwave, barbeque or pressure cooker. The microwave generates almost no heat, and is much more energy-efficient than the stove or oven. The pressure cooker generates less interior heat with relatively low energy consumption. The barbeque, of course, keeps the heat outside.

Seal off laundry room; line-dry clothes. Washers and dryers generate large amounts of heat and humidity. When possible, use them in the morning or late evening when you can better tolerate the extra heat. Seal off the laundry room when in use, and duct or vent the air to the outside of the house.
Use a clothes line to dry clothes. Dryers release a substantial amount of heat during operation; they also consume a lot of electricity. Toss your clothes in the dryer on fluff for a few minutes if line-dried clothes are too stiff.

Insulate water heater. Water heaters radiate heat which can be easily contained by insulation. You can purchase a water heater 'blanket' for about $20 at hardware stores, or insulate the water heater yourself using faced fiberglass insulation and duct tape. Be sure not to cover any vents. This simple technique will also greatly increase the efficiency of your water heater, resulting in lower energy bills.

Seal ducts and close basement doors. Many homes with central heating have ducts which run through the attic and crawl space. If the seams in these ducts are leaky, especially in the attic, they can draw in hot summer air which flows into the house, creating more of a load for air conditioners. Minor duct repairs are easy to accomplish, and usually involve folding or crimping the tin edges with a pliers. Ducts in unconditioned spaces, however, should be sealed and insulated by qualified professionals using the appropriate sealing materials.
Air ducts which lead to your basement should also be shut off, as this part of your house usually cools itself naturally. Keep the door to the basement closed, as cool air will settle down to the basement where it isn't needed.

Shut gas supply to fireplace and heaters. The pilot light generates a considerable amount of heat, and should be off during warm months. Re-lighting the pilot light in the fall is as easy as pushing a button on most units.

 
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Natural Cooling Tips
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