Want to keep your home cool this summer without having to pay an arm and a leg in utility costs? Here are three alternative ways to cool your home.

Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

Temperatures are rising and so are your utility bills, courtesy of that big power hog: your air conditioner. If you want to cut down your cooling costs without having to crank up the A/C, here are three tricks you can try instead:

1. Fans and ice. You can easily make a DIY air conditioner, with nothing more than a box fan and some ice. Simply put the ice into a bowl and place it in front of the running fan. As the ice melts, it cools the air around it. The fan will then disperse that wonderfully cool air all around your home. 

Fans can do more than that, though. Another cooling trick is to run your ceiling fans counterclockwise—this will pull up the hot air, leaving you sitting in a cooler space. And installing a whole-house fan can literally pull out all the hot air from your home and siphon it up and out at minimal cost. 

2. Green cooling. Plants do a wonderful job absorbing sunshine and reducing the summer heat. If you're planning to stay in your home for a while, it might make sense to plant several deciduous trees on the south side of your home.  

"Some of these will actually boost your home’s value."

Another option is several potted sunflowers, which grow quickly but have large leaves. Climbing vines or foliage on a trellis can keep the front of your home cool, while a green roof will both increase your comfort and reduce your energy bills year-round. 

3. A summertime schedule. For this natural trick, simply open up the windows in the early morning and shut them before you go to work. This will allow you to suck in some cool air and to keep out the hot air later in the day. For even better results, draw the shades during the day and consider getting heat-blocking blackout curtains.

These kinds of simple heat-busting tricks can be effective at reducing the heat during the summer months and lowering your energy bills by 30% to 50%.

Plus, small investments like planting a tree or installing a whole-house fan can also boost the value of your home. I bring this up because the summer is also when the real estate market gets hot. 

If you are ever in need of a trustworthy real estate agent, my doors are always open. If you have any questions or you are interested in buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to give me a call at 703-328-3434 or email me at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com. I would be happy to help you.