First and most importantly, you need to make sure your insulation is up to snuff, because otherwise you will lose the cool air as quickly as you make it. Once that is taken care of, you can use several methods, like ceiling fans and floor fans, which keep air circling, keep your windows covered, and paint the outside of your house a reflective color, like white. If all these things are accomplished, your house will stay cooler, longer, even on hot sunny days.
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The main thing you should make sure of is that you are keeping the heat out: so all windows and doors closed, and you might want to look into weather stripping to make sure nothing is leaking in. Even if you use an air conditioner, this will make it more efficient. You can use fans to keep air circulating in your house. If you use the air conditioner, don’t have it set as cool as you usually do- try using more fans or staying in cooler areas of the house during the day. You can also look into getting an Energy Star certified cooling system.
A combination of measures may be implemented in order to keep a house cool in the warmer summer months. Ceiling fans are a low cost way to circulate air throughout a room, making it feel much cooler. Thick, opaque shades and drapes eliminate sun infiltration. You can even use trees and shrubs to cover air conditioning units with shade. You can also paint your house (and roof) white to reflect more sun!
Plant a tree that shades your Southern side. Preventing the sun from entering your windows in the hottest part of the day can help keep your house cooler in the Summer. You could also keep your shades drawn on your Southern side, and seal off rooms that you do not use. All of these things will help you reduce your energy costs. You could also set your thermostat slightly higher when you are not at home (keep it comfortable for any pets you may have) and try to tolerate sleeping with the windows open rather than with the air on.
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