As temperatures rise, paying attention to the little things can help you stay cool in your home throughout the summer months. Following basic cooling tips such as opening windows during cool periods of the day and night, closing windows during hot periods of the day, and closing window treatments to prevent solar heat build-up are some of those “little things” that are known to help keep a home cool.
Cooling Equipment Options
Sometimes, the little things just aren’t enough to keep you cool, and it might be necessary to upgrade the air sealing or insulation in your home to help prevent it from overheating. And if these tried and true methods still aren’t enough to get you through the hottest part of the year, you might consider investing in what is known as “active” cooling equipment.
- Ceiling and Room Fans
Ceiling and room fans generally use the least energy of all active cooling options. Although they simply circulate air, that air movement can make you feel up to four degrees cooler. Whole house fans, on the other hand, pull in outdoor air through open windows during the coolest times of the day (morning and/or evenings) in order to both ventilate and cool an entire home. These units tend to use less energy than evaporative coolers and air conditioners and they work well with the large swings in daily temperatures throughout Colorado.
- Evaporative Coolers
Evaporative coolers (swamp cooler) generally use less energy than air conditioners, and are well-suited for Colorado because they work best in dry climates. For example, in 100 degree outdoor temperatures with 10% relative humidity, evaporative coolers can deliver 73 degree temperatures inside the home. On the other hand, evaporative coolers typically require more maintenance than air conditioners.
- Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
Central air conditioners are large enough to cool the entirety of your home, so it is especially important to choose an efficient unit. If it’s important to keep just one or two rooms particularly cool or if you don’t have ductwork in your home, room air conditioners or ductless mini-split heat pumps may be a good fit for you. Heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling quite efficiently.
Size Cooling Equipment to Your Home
Whenever you are considering new cooling equipment, ensure that your contractor performs a “Manual J” calculation to determine the proper size of the new equipment. These calculations account for your desired temperature level, maximum outdoor air temperatures in your specific location, how leaky your home is, and how much insulation you have. If you’ve already air sealed and insulated your home well, you may not need a large, expensive piece of cooling equipment to get you through the summer.