Millions of Americans have been enduring record-high summer temperatures this year, and that has led to the potential for rolling blackouts in many areas, due to the added strain put on the nation’s electrical infrastructure. But being too hot isn’t just uncomfortable, it can also severely affect your family’s health.
This all sounds grim, but the good news is that a process called “supercooling” your home can help you stay safe, feel comfortable and decrease your energy bill.
Arizona’s Supercooling Ambassador
Rosie Romero, host of “Rosie on the House,” a staple of Arizona talk radio since 1988, has reportedly been using the phrase supercooling for several years.
Romero’s listeners have reported saving between 25-33% on their energy bills since adopting his supercooling plan. And heating and cooling experts state that the method is also easier on your home’s HVAC system, potentially providing even more savings on expensive repairs down the road.
Romero defines supercooling as choosing the right time of day to turn on the air conditioning. The caveat to this plan is that you must have a specific type of electricity plan, which may or may not be available where you live. This is also a great time to shop around if you live in an area with multiple energy providers.
You’ll just need to learn the ins and outs of supercooling your house, apartment or other living space.
How to Supercool Your Home
If you don’t already have a time-of-use or time-of-day plan from your electricity provider, you’ll need to switch to one before you begin. These somewhat controversial plans mean the price of your electricity changes with the time of day, making power during peak hours more costly than off-peak hours, for instance.
Once your time-of-use plan is up and running, it’s time to start supercooling.
- First, find out the time of day when your electricity will be the cheapest (some providers even offer free energy at certain times). Typically, during the summer at least, rates are lower from the early evening until about noon the next day.
- Next, turn the thermostat way down during those peak times. You’ll want to set it as low as you can handle. To obtain the supercooling effect, Romero says it must be between 68 and 74 degrees.
- Finally, turn the thermostat back up once you’re back to high-priced rate periods. You’ll probably go higher than you usually would. Romero recommends 78 to 80 degrees.
And that’s all there is to it. Keep up this cycle throughout the summer and your home should stay plenty cool while your energy bill decreases.
How Does Supercooling Work?
Supercooling works because while you are cooling the air in your home, you’re also cooling the walls, floors, furnishings, fixtures and everything else inside. Of course, the more energy-efficient your home is, the more it will contain this coolness, helping you feel more comfortable even when you hike the thermostat up again during peak energy-cost hours.
Some tips to help navigate supercooling your home:
- If you’re one of those individuals who loves to feel frosty, great! For most people, though, it can get a little nippy enduring those chilly hours where you’ve got the air cranked. So you may want to pull on a sweater or cover up with a cozy blanket.
- A smart thermostat that’s linked to your smartphone will make it much simpler to supercool your living spaces. You can program it to adjust as needed at the proper times, even if you happen to be away from the house.
- Only running appliances such as your washing machine, dryer and dishwasher during your cheap or free electricity periods will help you slash your power bill even more.
Other Ways to Beat the Heat
If variable electricity rates are unavailable for you, you can still incorporate practices that help your home feel cooler and can lower your power bill.
- Keep windows and doors closed, and keep blinds and curtains down. The less sunlight and hot air you allow into your space, the less energy you’ll need to cool it off.
- Make sure your ceiling fans are turning counterclockwise during warm months. This will push the air downward, creating a cooling breeze and helping maintain the room’s temperature. Most ceiling fans have a switch on the side of the base to change the direction.
- Avoid heating the house. Instead of turning on the oven, prepare meals on the grill outside or use smaller appliances, such as a slow cooker or air fryer. If you have baking to do, wait until milder evenings.
- Reduce drafts and air leaks in your home. First, inspectyour home’s exterior for visible cracks. Inside, look for gaps around door and window frames, outlets, baseboards, pipes and other common areas. Then, use caulking or weatherstripping to seal them.
- Check your air filter. While most filters only require changing every three months, they may need more frequent replacements. For instance, if you have lower-priced fiberglass filters, pets or if you run your HVAC daily, they could become clogged and prevent your air conditioner from running at top performance.
- You can feel cooler by dressing lightly in breathable fabrics like cotton, sipping icy beverages or indulging in chilly treats like ice pops and sitting in front of a fan while you work or watch TV. Of course, a dip in the pool, a dash through the sprinklers or a dousing in a quick, cold shower can also help you through summer’s sizzling temps.
Before you know it, the dog days of summer will be a memory, and you’ll be making plans for fall.