by AINSLEY LAWRENCE
It’s no secret that the South is notorious for its hot and humid summers. But unlike the old days, there’s no need to suffer as you sit on your front porch sipping your iced tea and fanning yourself, hoping for the slightest gust of a breeze. With the tips in this article, you can turn your home into the coolest house on the block, literally.
1. Create Efficient Landscaping
If you’ve got the time for a bigger home renovation project this summer, you can overhaul your landscaping to give your property more shade. Trees are like mother nature’s air conditioning. They not only look nice, but they can help shade your home from the harsh sun, which can significantly reduce the temperature inside and outside your home.
Redoing your landscaping so it uses water more mindfully can also go a long way towards saving you money on your utility bills, and help protect the environment at the same time. Traditional lawns require a lot of water to maintain, so choosing to create permeable natural pathways can help you save on your water bill. You can also replace your lawn with grass alternatives such as creeping mint or clover, which greatly reduces the amount of resources you will use. Finally, consider using plants native to the South in your garden, to attract local pollinators and help preserve the natural habitat.
2. Consider a Roof Upgrade
Another major reno project to consider if you want to beat the Southern heat and control the temperature in your home is installing a new roof. An old roof with poor insulation will not only let more hot air in, but it will let the cool air from your AC out, which makes it harder to keep your house cool and runs up your energy bill because the AC has to work harder. But a new roof can improve the efficiency of your home, keeping it cooler and reducing your energy bills.
3. Use a Smart Thermostat
Along the same lines of ensuring your AC usage is more efficient and not running up your energy bills, you can also try upgrading to a smart thermostat. The summer heat can be brutal, which can sometimes cause older systems to run hard and for too long, but a smart thermostat will know exactly how long to run and when to shut off to keep your home perfectly cooled at the ideal temperature.
4. Upgrade the Windows
Similar to how an old roof can let hot air in and cool AC air out, so can your windows. This might be a pricier renovation project for your home, similar to installing a new roof, but it comes with a big return on investment. New windows can also make your home more energy efficient and help keep the inside much cooler, and many homeowners receive a 100 percent ROI when they upgrade their windows.
Home renovation projects can get loud, chaotic, and even messy, but you wouldn’t want to annoy your neighbors with your project. So make sure you keep your neighbors in mind for your renovation. This means respecting their privacy and space but keeping things on your side of the fence, communicating with them ahead of time about the project, and being mindful of noise levels at certain times of the day.
It’s also important to be mindful of who you hire to help with these projects to keep your community safe. So make sure you research the company or contractors you choose to work with to ensure they’ll not only do a good job but also keep your safety and the safety of your neighbors in mind.
5. Keep Your Electronics Off When Not In Use
These next few tips are less “home reno project” and more “simple changes in habit” that can help you keep your home cooler this summer.
There are small things in your home that you do that can add up to more heat production, and keeping your electronics running is one of them. This might not seem like a big deal to some, but if you are struggling to beat the Southern heat and are desperate for any tips to help cool your home off, this is one of them.
When you aren’t using your devices and electronics, turn them off completely. Even if they are in sleep mode, they can still generate heat from the power they are drawing to stay on.
6. Air Dry Your Dishes and Clothes
You know that feeling when you open your dishwasher, and it feels like you’re getting a facial from the hot, humid heat that rushes out? Well, that heat and humidity can also make your home warmer if you are running your dishwasher a lot during the summer. The same goes for your clothes dryer. So to help cut back on the heat, try air drying your dishes and hang dry your clothes during the summer months.
7. Avoid Using the Oven
That’s right — no more pies this summer. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit much, especially if you love to bake, but if you can manage to give your oven a summer vacation, it can certainly help keep things cooler in your home. If avoiding the oven entirely is not an option for you, try to only use it later in the evening or even at night when things have potentially cooled down a bit. You can also use an outdoor grill or even an air fryer instead.
8. Use a Window Fan at Night
Another smart tip for staying cool in the heat is to use a window fan at night. Hot air can get trapped in your home at night, which can sometimes make it warmer in your home than it is outside once the sun goes down. So using a window fan in reverse can help you suck all that trapped warm air out and pull the cooler, night air inside.
9. Keep Hot Showers to a Minimum
If you live alone, this tip might not be that useful, but if you’ve got a full house, it can definitely help. If you’ve got multiple people taking hot showers or baths almost every day, this can fill your home with more moisture and heat. So in the summer months, try keeping time spent in the shower or bath to a minimum. We’re not saying you can’t bathe but maybe set a timer to help your family remember to keep their wash sessions a little shorter during the warmer months.
As a final note, don’t forget that good old Southern hospitality when undertaking any major renovations this summer. In other words, be mindful of your neighbors during your renovations and when they are complete, don’t hesitate to invite people over to enjoy your new cool space.