We can all agree that keeping cool during the hot summer months is a priority for most people that live in areas where the temperatures can really soar at that time of the year.
How do you keep yourself and your family in cool comfort when the sun is busy scorching all around you?
Most people in this situation will have a central or house-wide HVAC system installed in their home to maintain an even indoor temperature year-round. That means keeping the home warm during the cold winter months, then doing the reverse in the hot months of the year.
That's great as long as you can afford to keep up with the ever-rising cost of electricity that year by year is making it harder on regular families to maintain their level of indoor comfort.
That's because large heating and air conditioning systems use so much energy to do what they're designed to do!
What is the solution to lowering energy usage but maintaining an even indoor climate? Well, during winter it means finding alternative ways to generate heat. Believe it or not, that is not so difficult if you're prepared to install some small room-by-room propane heaters or if wood for burning is cheap and plentiful in your area, then log-burning fires and stoves are making a big comeback!
However, keeping cool is a whole other problem when you can't just find an alternative type of fuel to generate cold air other than electricity!
There is a solution that not a whole load of folks are even aware of aside from taking stock of your property and looking around for ways to shade it from the hottest rays of the sun during the day. It’s a solution that is only really workable if you live in an area that has predominantly dry heat (low humidity) but it's one that works and can save you a lot of money on energy bills.
A great alternative to regular AC is the simple, yet effective evaporative (swamp) cooler. These generally come as small units that look a lot like portable AC and are even referred to as ventless portable air conditioners.
I can tell you that they're certainly not AC and they don't use anything like the amount of electricity to produce a lot of chilled air that really can keep you cool and lower the ambient room temperature in the house. They even work outdoors so you can sit on your patio or porch and enjoy a blast of cold air even on the hottest days!
They work by evaporating moisture and forcing air through a wet membrane to create the chilled breeze much like running a fan across a pool of water and feeling the colder air at the other side. The problem is (I already mentioned it) is they only work effectively in dry air locations as high humidity reduces the ability for the air to absorb any more moisture and thereby the cooling effect is lost.
Another way around paying for running a large HVAC in summer is to deploy window AC units room by room. These are smaller and use less energy while only cooling a room that is actually being occupied.
The saving comes from not cooling rooms in the house that no one is in (as in the case of house-wide HVAC). Pretty much general common sense but you'd be surprised at how many folks don't realize that and wonder why their energy bills are through the roof when they've been keeping empty rooms cold in their homes.
Ductless Mini-Split AC
A similar solution to window units us to install mini-split AC units in each room of the house. These are often referred to as zone AC and again, only need to be operational in rooms where there are people occupying them and in need of cooling down!
So there you have some ideas that you can take forward if you want to reduce your electricity consumption and lower the bills some. Try other things too, like shading the home better, upgrading insulation and generally doing things that will reduce the heating load on the house when the sun is in the sky.
Here are some more pages on the subject if you want to read more on cooling solutions: