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Cooling Your Home

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Try these no-cost, low-cost tips to cool off and save energy

We spend the majority of our energy dollars controlling the temperature of our home. In the summer, that means keeping it cool. Try these passive cooling approaches first. Even if you’re still using air conditioning, you’ll use less and that lowers your electricity use.

Flowers Draw the curtains on heat

In the morning, open windows to let cool air in. Then close them, and draw your blinds or drapes during the day to keep the hot sun out. Your home will retain much of the cool morning air.

Dog with Ceiling Fan Let fans move the air

Ceiling fans help cool down your home. They don’t use much electricity and can help reduce the need for air conditioning. Make sure the fan blows air downwards in summer.

Cool down your menus too

In the summer, use the BBQ and include more cold foods and salads in your menu. Try not to use major heat-producing appliances in the middle of the day.

The real problem may be humidity

Humid homes feel hotter. Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to expel air outdoors – and avoid air-drying clothes inside.

Loading washing machine
Computer Not using it? Turn it off

Lights, appliances and home electronics use a lot of power and give off heat. During the summer, it's more important than ever to turn them off when you aren't using them. You'll save energy twice.

Time for new appliances?
Think of the second price tag.

Investing in your home to save energy will pay off for years to come. If you need a contractor, be sure to get multiple quotes and check references. Visit Natural Resources Canada for information on incentives from the ecoENERGY Retrofit Program.


Look at your home’s thermal envelope for savings

How airtight is your home’s thermal envelope – that is, the roof, walls, windows and doors? If you have a “leaky house” you’ll find it more difficult and costly to cool and heat.

  • A thorough caulking, weatherstripping and insulation job can reduce your cooling and heating bill significantly and provide a much more comfortable home.
  • Replacing single pane windows and uninsulated doors with more energy-efficient models will make a big difference too.

Get CFLs and LEDs on your team

Heat builds up in the attic and radiates down into the house. An attic that is under-insulated and unventilated can reach temperatures up to 54°C (130°F) on a hot summer day.

  • Consider adding attic ventilation to let air circulate and heat escape.
  • Be sure you have adequate insulation.
  • A qualified contractor can ensure proper placement and sizes of vents, and determine your insulation needs.

Dehumidifiers help cool

In addition to exhaust fans, think about adding a dehumidifier, especially in the basement to reduce humidity in your entire home.

  • Home dehumidifiers collect as much as 50 litres of water per day!
  • Most dehumidifiers allow you to set the humidity level like a thermostat – it will start and shut itself off automatically. This saves energy costs and equipment wear.

Keep one room cool with a room air conditioner

Window air conditioners are ideal for cooling one room of a house. They’re easy to control and adjust. You can cut your air-conditioning electrical costs by up to 30% a year by buying the most energy-efficient model.


Central air conditioners for the whole house

A central air conditioning unit is added to an existing forced air system and uses the ductwork to provide cool air. Although the initial cost may be relatively high, it’s more efficient than operating several window air conditioners.

  • Replace your existing central air conditioner with a high-efficiency model – you could get up to $400 to offset your costs. Learn more.

Consider geothermal energy

Building a new home? Consider a geothermal heat pump for both heating and cooling. It can return substantial energy savings over time.


Install a programmable thermostat

  • A properly set programmable thermostat can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10%.
  • It can also reduce energy use when you’re not at home and while you’re sleeping.

Time-of-Use Tips

  • Use a programmable thermostat to run your air conditioning (AC) during off-peak hours – especially if you have central air.
  • Adjust your temperatures a little warmer. That means your AC runs for shorter periods of time.
  • When you cool off-peak, make sure you keep the cool air in during the rest of the day by closing windows, doors, drapes and blinds.


Shopping Tips

Room Air Conditioners

  • Read the EnerGuide label for the EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
  • Also look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol on the EnerGuide label. This indicates that the unit meets the highest energy-efficiency levels.

Central Air

  • Since central air is a major purchase, get a number of quotes from reputable dealers. The dealer can help you find a unit that is the right size for your home.
  • Be sure to compare the sound ratings of different units.
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