As summer quickly approaches and temperatures rise, Clark Public Utilities has provided tips on how people can stay cool while indoors, even if they don’t have an air conditioning unit.
Dameon Pesanti, with Clark Public Utilities, said it takes a lot of energy to operate an air conditioner, even if it’s an efficient model.
The monthly cost for a central air conditioning system could add between $30 to $45 onto a person’s electricity bill, while operating a single portable fan only costs 73 cents per month, according to CPU’s User’s Guide to Electricity.
“I think one of the best ones all us can do is just really to embrace the chill of the evening and the early morning hours,” Pesanti said. “And if it’s safe to do so, open all the windows and even the doors in your home that you can.”
Pesanti said leaving windows or doors open overnight allows the cool air to come inside of the home, essentially trapping it inside once the windows are closed, kind of like a cooler.
Pesanti recommends utilizing that method if the outside temperature feels cooler than inside of the home.
Once the temperature outside is warmer than inside of the home, that is when the windows or doors should be closed to trap the cool overnight air.
Another method people can utilize is to limit the “greenhouse effect” in a home. Windows that have direct sunlight exposure should have thick curtains or blinds that block out the sunlight that warms up the air inside.
“There’s kind of almost a rhythm to your day that you have to follow with those things, but I think a lot of people will be surprised at how effective … even something as simple as that is,” Pesanti said. “It can really, really help keep your house noticeably cooler throughout the day.”
Another way people can stay cool is by taking a cold shower. A cool shower can provide immediate relief, which is pretty much the goal of running an AC unit. Pesanti said he uses the cool shower method and stays a little damp afterwards, which helps hold his body temperature at a lower rate.
While fans are a popular solution for people on a hot summer day, they often just blow the warm air around, which provides minimal relief from the heat. There’s a variety of do-it-yourself fan creations that can help cool a room.
One option utilizes a fan and a five gallon bucket. To make a room cooler, a person can cut holes in the bucket and the lid, and then place the fan so it blows down on the interior of the bucket, which is filled with ice.
“By forcing that air across the ice, those things blow at like 65 degrees, and you know you’re paying nothing other than the cost of running the fan and the ice, either out of your fridge or buying it from the gas station,” Pesanti said.
Another option to keep a house cool is to cook meals outside on a grill or another item. Stovetops and ovens create a lot of heat, which can counter cooling methods.
Pesanti said the biggest hit to a person’s utility bill, whether they are heating or cooling their homes, is inadequate insulation or air leaks. Older living spaces are especially vulnerable to those issues.
“It would be worth a person taking the time to do something about those air leaks and/or boost that insulation,” Pesanti said.
While a person can fix those problems on their own, Clark Public Utilities offers rebates to help pay for professional help for those fixes, Pesanti said.