How to keep your cool this summer

Article content

Summer has arrived — and that means a lot of things I love, like time spent on my boat, and barbecuing with my family. However, for a lot of homeowners summer means their energy bills kick into overdrive as they spend all their energy cooling their houses.

Here are a few things you can do this summer to keep your cool:

Look up to your fan

There’s one misconception I want to clear up about ceiling fans: they don’t make the air any cooler. What they do is keep air moving, evaporating the moisture on your skin and making you feel cooler.

If you’re installing a new fan, always choose one that’s energy-efficient because that will keep your money where you want it: in your pocket. That means you also want to turn it off when you’re not in the room, it’s a waste of energy if you’re not feeling its cooling effects.

Your fan’s orientation makes a difference. When the fan blades run clockwise, it pulls cool air up, while running counterclockwise allows it to push that same cool air down. So which direction do you want it running in the summer? Well, you want to feel that cool air, so it should be running counterclockwise. When the autumn chill hits, reverse the orientation of your fan, so you can stay warm in the winter.


Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Does your fan have a light fixture? If you’re using the wrong kind of bulb, you could be adding unnecessary heat to your room without realizing it. If you’re still holding onto your incandescent bulbs, switch them out for fluorescent or LED lights. They burn much cooler, and use less energy.

On days when the heat is truly unbearable and you have to use the A/C, a ceiling fan can help keep your thermostat a little higher, by providing that extra circulation you need to make you feel cool.

If you must run the A/C, make sure you’re taking proper care of your unit. Regular maintenance includes checking and changing your HVAC filters regularly to ensure your unit runs as efficiently as possible. In the summer months, I would check monthly — and if you’re renovating, every two weeks is a smart choice. Don’t neglect your yard maintenance and always make sure your unit is clear of any leaves and debris. If you can, keep the unit in the shade to slightly increase its efficiency.

Made in the shade

When you’re outside and it’s too hot, the first place we naturally move to is the shade. It provides some protection from the beating, hot sun, so it makes sense that when your home is too hot to create some shade, right?

Keeping your blinds closed on especially hot days is a no-brainer. But heat still gets caught between your blinds and the window — and that heat gets stuck in your home with nowhere to go. You want to do your best to stop the heat from getting in, instead of treating its effects.


Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

So how do you create shade outside your home? You’ve got two major options: trees and your window coverings. Awnings, those coverings above some windows and doors can significantly reduce heat gain in your home by blocking those heavy UV rays before they get into your home. If you can, chose retractable or removable awnings, because that means you can take them down during the winter when you want what little sun we get in Canada shining into your home.

You could also install a UV film on your windows that will reduce glare and heat gain in the home, while still letting the light in.

If you’re doing some landscaping this summer — trees can create some much needed shade in your home as well. Just make sure you’re consulting a professional landscaper before you plant. The last thing you want to do is plant a tree too close to your home.

While it will provide lots of welcome shade, having tall trees right next to your property can direct water right onto your roof, causing it to wear down and leak. And the roots can wreak havoc on your interior systems if they penetrate your weeping tile or pipes.

Don’t let this summer get you hotheaded. By taking on a few smaller jobs around the house, you can keep that unwanted heat out of your home and have one cool summer.

Watch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, on HGTV. For more information, visit

News Near Tillsonburg

This Week in Flyers