Modern heating and air conditioning systems were invented by Willis Carrier in 1902. Carrier’s intention for his heating and air conditioning systems was actually to combat the humidity that damaged paper goods in printing shops, rather than providing comfort. By the 1930s, reliable heating and air conditioning systems were only used in government buildings and a few public places such as movie theaters.
It wasn’t until the late 1940s when indoor air conditioners and heaters became common in homes. This was only made possible after additional power plants were specifically built to support the high demands mainstream. While we all love the modern convenience of heating and air-conditioning, the resulting electrical bill can be a real drain on our wallet. Here are a few genius ways to reduce your heating and cooling costs the way our forefathers did:
- Leverage sunlight. Natural sunlight coming through your windows accounts for up to 30% of the heat in your home. During the winter months, utilize this to provide some natural heat; keep your blinds open to promote sunlight. During the summer months, close the blinds to block the sunlight. If you like the natural light without the heat impact, you can get gas-filled windows that reduce the amount Of heat that transmits with the sunlight.
- Use weather-friendly bedding. When it’s cold outside, use flannel sheets and fleece blanket for insulation to stay warm without running up your electric bill. When it’s summer, stick to cotton which is breathable and keeps you cooler without AC up while you slumber. If feasible, you can also save quite a bit by leveraging a fan while you sleep, or using pillows that are specifically designed to maintain a comfortable temperature instead of the AC.
- Speaking of ceiling fans? You probably didn’t know that your ceiling fan can run in either direction. Since heat rises, setting your ceiling fan to run counterclockwise at a high speed during the summer helps pull the cool air up and spread it around. During the winter, you can leverage your ceiling fan for heat by running it clockwise on a low speed to help distribute the heat that naturally rises.
- Focus on your personal comfort instead of the temperature of the house. Drink iced beverage when it’s hot out to cool yourself. Dress in layers when it’s cold out.
- Consider your light bulbs. Did you know that incandescent bulbs waste about 90% of the energy they consume by emitting heat? Replace your incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient CFL’s; not only will you save money from the lights themselves, they put less heat into the room which has to be cooled with your AC.
- Plan dinner around the season. Using your oven and stove will obviously make your whole house a hotter. In the summer, consider meals that don’t have to be heated, such as fresh salads and deli sandwiches, or utilize your outdoor grill. During the winter, promote heating efficiency by cooking hot meals indoors. The heat generated by your stove will help warm your house, plus filling your belly with a hot meal will warm in your body.
Do you have any other natural heating and cooling ideas? Please share them in the comment section below.