Maintaining a Cool Home on a Budget

When you're on a tight budget and you need your home to keep cool in summer, a cheaper alternative to air conditioning is a portable evaporative cooler. This is a great way to fend off the heat for a lot less than the cost of a power hungry AC as long as you happen to live in a fairly low humidity climate.

However, it's not the only thing you can do to help keep your dwelling as cool as possible on those sweltering hot summer days. This article takes a look at some of the ways in which you can help nature out a little and work with some natural aspects of "coolology" to keep the indoor temperature down.

Keeping the Sun Off

The first place you need to work on is in doing as much as you can to keep the sun from raising the temperature of the masonry and structure of your home. You do that by literally keeping it off the building by creating shade where possible.

Now I know that if you live in a 10th floor apartment, getting shading up may not be the easiest thing you ever did! But what you can do is get some blinds or awnings fitted around the place on walls that face south or west to at least stop the sun frying the exterior walls.

The same goes for any building that gets a lot of sun during the day but most especially on south and west facing walls as they bear the brunt of the sun's heat in the daytime. If you live in a house and you have tall trees around it, thank your blessings because they are a great natural shade provider and not only can the keep the sun off the walls, but they can also keep it off the roof it they’re tall enough and have a wide enough spread.

Let It Cool Down at Night

A lot of people don't like to be bothered by flying insects during the day or night so they close up all the windows and doors o keep them out. The only problem with that is you also keep the heat that built up during the day in there too.

The best way to help your home regulate its own internal temperature is to allow the cooler breezes to carry the heat out at night by leaving windows open. To keep the bugs out, fit good quality mosquito netting to windows so those evil little bloodsuckers can't get in at night but the cool breezes can.

Reflective Paint

Where you have walls that cannot be covered with shade for one reason or another, you can at least help them to reflect as much heat as possible by painting them a very light color. White is best by far and this can actually keep a building several degrees cooler than one painted in a darker color or with natural red brick walls.

Painting the roof may seem a little dramatic, but there's nothing stopping you painting the roof tiles or shingles white to increase the roof's reflective ability and help keep the temperature down. If you have window shutters in place of blinds, make sure they're pained white too and have them closed when the sun is on them.

Cooling the Air

Of course, there is nothing to beat the wonderful comfort of walking into an air conditioned building from out of the heat of the day, but this is a luxury that is fast becoming too expensive for many folks. In areas that have dry heat, a swamp cooler is a much more economical alternative that can keep the inside of your home nice and cool on a hot day without the massive energy consumption of AC.

However, not everyone lives in a region that has dry heat and in fact the majority of us live in areas that have some humidity during summer. Swamp coolers will still work in moist air, even up to 40% humidity or beyond depending on the circumstances.

There is a trick to getting these devices to work at their best and here it is:

Keep a window and a door open in the room being cooled by a swamp cooler, with the unit near to the window. Now that may sound contrary to AC logic where you must keep the hot air out of the room at all costs, but not so with evaporative coolers.

The logic behind these coolers is that they naturally humidify the air they pump out, so you need to keep the room's atmosphere constantly circulated with drier air from outside, while allowing the moisture laden air to ventilate out. Sure some hot air will get in, but these models take the heat right out of the air as they pass it across the wet cooling media and push out a huge amount of chilled air in its place, keeping you cool and keeping the temperature in the room to comfortable levels.

Not Real Air Conditioners

Now one of these units that are often erroneously referred to as "portable air conditioners that are vent free," but are really not AC at all cannot drop the temperature in the room as low as an AC can. But they can drop it to a comfortable level, which for many folks is between 70 and 75 F and that's really all you need.

Sure, you can force an AC to drop the temperature down to 60 if you want, but who wants to sit in a freezing cold room when its summer outside? Crazy and also extremely irresponsible when it comes to wasting energy!

As long as you can understand the difference between evaporative coolers and air conditioners, you'll be fine running with one or more of these free standing models in your home. If your local atmosphere's humidity level is low enough and you use one correctly with a window open, one or more of these coolers will keep you comfortable during summer while really keeping your electricity consumption down during those hot months to an affordable level.

That's the goal of course and if you work with what you have, you can save money on enjoying indoor comfort when it gets uncomfortably hot outside!