How to Reduce Cooling Costs on the Farm
By Holly Welles
A farmhouse comes with ample charm and coziness but, sometimes, you’d like your place to be a little cooler — temperature-wise, anyway. Summer can be uncomfortable in a drafty old home as heat easily makes its way inside the place you go to cool off. To counteract this, you might pump the air-conditioning, a method that works but can be pricey.
So, how can you have both — a stunning country homestead, but one that also stays cool without an exorbitant utility bill? Here are five ways to do it:
1. Upgrade Your Air-Conditioning Unit
You’re thinking that this will be a big expense, and that’s justifiable — but it’s one that’ll save you money in the long run. A newer, efficient air-conditioning unit will churn out more air while expending less energy. Start your search with appliances approved by Energy Star so you know that they’ll use the least amount of power possible to keep your country home more comfortable than ever.
Once you’ve upgraded, check with your energy provider to see if they offer rebates for your purchase, as some companies want to provide incentives for their customers to use less. Your homestead can benefit from taking advantage of modern-day energy efficiency.
2. Close the Curtains
When you choose to live in the country, you want to gaze at your land. Chances are, your home has nice, big windows, and you love to keep them open and take in the outside landscape.
However, natural light is also a natural heater, so you should keep blinds and curtain shut, especially during the day’s hottest hours. Do the same with doors outside — open and close them as quickly as you can.
To that end, try to avoid using heat-producing appliances, such as the oven or dishwasher, when it’s hot outside. Limit baking and other heat-reliant activities to the morning or nighttime.
3. Try a Fan
Fans use a fraction of the energy that an air-conditioning unit does and, while they can’t create cool air, they can keep things circulating through your house. Plus, that breezy feeling can make your space seem a lot cooler. Some estimates say you can reduce cooling costs by about 23 percent simply by turning on your ceiling fans and setting the thermostat slightly higher than usual. And, if you have a breeze blowing on you, then it won’t feel warmer at all.
4. Keep the A/C Unit in Shape
When’s the last time you changed your air filters? Leaving them to collect dust and other allergens makes it harder and harder for air to pass through and cool down your home. So, your air-conditioning unit will be working harder than it has to — and expending more energy — just to regulate the temperature. Replacing filters once a month can remedy this.
To that end, regular tune-ups can keep your air-conditioning unit churning at its full capacity. Before the heat of summer sets in at the homestead, think about calling in a technician to ensure the appliance is in working order — this small expense can help save energy costs in the long run.
5. Check for Leaks
You don’t want your air-conditioning unit breathing cool air into your home only for it to escape through a leaky door, window or wall. Inspect your country home for any leaks in the seals around such areas with external access. Plug any holes that could be letting out cool air — weather stripping or caulk typically do the trick.
Keeping Your Farm Cool
Take the above five steps, and you’ll be on your way to keeping your farm cool and comfortable in the summer. That way, you and your family can do exactly what you intended in the first place when you moved there — enjoy the landscape and enjoy life.
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