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Keeping Cool on a Budget

Hot summers and cool breezes

Now that we are in the dog days of summer, keeping cool without breaking the bank is a top priority. Being the premier experts in North Georgia real estate, Nathan Fitts & Team knows a few things about keeping cool and beating the heat…and your budget this summer. Here are our top 10 suggestions to keep you and your pocketbook from sweating this season:

1. Cool Mountain Air

The best part about living in the North Georgia Mountains are our moderate temperatures. During the day the summer temperatures average in the mid to high 80’s, but our evenings average in the low 60’s. Take advantage and open those windows! Not only will you love the fresh smell of the greater outdoors, but it will also give your air conditioner a break from working so hard.

 

 

2. Blinds, Drapes, & Shutters

Window treatments are not just for aesthetics. Direct sunlight can increase house temperatures by 10-20 degrees. While blinds are helpful, room darkening curtains really help to keep the heat out and the cool in. Your best bet is to select neutral colored curtains with white plastic backings.

3. Ceiling & Floor Fans

Both ceiling fans and floor fans can help to maximize your coolness in the house. For ceiling fans, change the setting to counterclockwise and set them at a higher speed. Not only does this help to pull the hot air up away from you and force the cooler air down, but it will also move a nice breeze through the room. Consider positioning a floor fan by an a/c vent to help the cooling of the house. Don’t worry, running fans congruently with your air conditioner will not increase your electric bill. Fans only cost about one penny an hour to run but make all the difference in your comfort level!

4. Rethink Chore Time

Our household appliances produce heat while in use. Consider running your dishwasher in the evening before you go to bed. Opt to grill out or use a slow cooker/InstantPot instead of the oven. Instead of throwing your clothes in the dryer, hang them out on a line. Not only will you save on heat and energy, but your clothes will smell fresh too!

5. A/C Efficiency

It is important to have your air conditioning unit serviced and cleaned regularly for optimum functionality. Our friends at James Thomas Heating & Cooling also suggest installing a programmable thermostat. The beauty of these programmable units is they allow you to set the times and temperatures to maximize your energy use. It is recommended to set your thermostat 2-7 degrees higher or lower while you are away from the house or sleeping. Have your thermostat begin cooling or heating your home about 30-60 minutes prior to your arrival or waking. You determine the number of degrees difference by the ability of your unit to adjust the temperature in your home in the 30-60 minute window. If you purchase a “smart” programmable thermostat, then you can access your thermostat via your smart phone and make adjustments to your predetermined schedule as needed. Mr. James Thomas also encourages his customers to change their air filters regularly to keep your units performing at their highest efficiency.

6. Bed Time

In the summer, change your sheets to a high thread count cotton set. Cotton materials breathe better and stay cooler. You should also change out your comforter to a nice lightweight option. If you really want to stay cool, place your pillow in the freezer for about 20 minutes before bedtime!

7. Upgrade your ideas

Lightbulbs put off a lot of energy especially if they are incandescent bulbs. When you switch your bulbs to fluorescent, not only will you save on energy costs, but they will also put out less heat. Remember to turn off your lights while you aren’t in the room.

 

8. Landscape

Plant trees or vines near your windows to help shade your home from those strong sun rays. Consider purchasing fast growing arbors that have a thick canopy and place them on the South and West facing sides of your home. Not only will your trees provide much-welcomed shade, but they can also increase the value of your home!

9. Insulate

How thick is your current insulation? If your attic is not well insulated, you may be losing all of your cool air right out of your roof! Add an extra layer of insulation in your attic and don’t forget to insulate and add weather-stripping to the attic door.

 

10. Get low

We all know that heat rises, so make yourself comfortable by spending time on the lower floors of your house or better yet, the basement! If you live in a one-story house, consider moving your mattress off the high bed frames and onto the floor

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