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How the Heck Does a Southern Girl Stay Cool Around Here?

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According to the good ol’ Farmer’s Almanac, the summer season in Huntsville will be much hotter than normal this year. The warmer periods will occur from mid-June through early July and into early August. September and October will be drier than normal, with near-normal temperatures.

I’ve heard questions come in regarding window fans – should they be placed to draw air in or out? And what about windows, shades, and awnings? Are windows on the North side of the house better left closed or open during the day? Are awnings better than shades?

Let us help you take the guess work out of how to keep your home nice and cool for these of summer months. Find out the answers to these questions and more, right here:

  1. The best way to ensure cost-effective cooling measures is to provide effective shade for east and west windows. This means planting shade trees, closing curtains, and/or installing white window shades or mini-blinds (they can reduce solar heat gain by 40-50 percent). OR hanging tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside the window during the summer is reported to stop 60-80% of the sun’s heat from getting to the windows.
  2. Install awnings on south-facing windows, where there’s insufficient roof overhang to provide shade.
  3. During the warm season, keep the house closed tight during the day. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. If you want to ventilate, do this in the evening naturally or with fans.
  4. Ventilation has many people confused. Here’s my “no sweat” tip! You can help get rid of unwanted heat through ventilation if the temperature of the incoming air is 77 F or lower. (That is why this strategy works most effectively at night and on cooler mornings.) Window fans for ventilation are a good option if used properly. They should be located on the downwind side of the house facing out. A window should be open in each room. Then ensure those interior doors remain open to allow air flow.
  5. When to use a ceiling fan to create comfortable air temps. (For our Southerners and Northerners*) The standard human comfort range for light clothing in the summer is between 72 F and 75 F. To extend the comfort range to 80 F, you need a breeze of about 2.5 ft/sec or 1.7 mph. A slow-turning ceiling-mounted paddle fan can easily provide this air flow. *Warning: Now this is only if you are a “True Southerner”. The Northerners who have settled to our warmer climate for a slower and sweeter way of life may find 69-73 is more to their liking before those fans need to kick on.
  6. In hot climates, plant shade trees around the house. However, don’t plant trees on the South if you want to benefit from passive solar heating in the winter.
  7. If you have an older central air conditioner, consider replacing the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit. Make sure that it is properly matched to the indoor unit.
  8. Buy a high-efficiency air conditioner: for central air conditioners, look for a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of 14-16.  For room air conditioners, the energy efficiency ratio (EER) rating should be around 14. We have some great local professionals we can recommend who can explain the different SEER ratings and their pros and cons of those units based off initial up front costs and costs comparatively to the labor once the warranty is up.
  9. Do your best not to use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.
  10. Seal all air conditioner ducts, and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements, crawl spaces, and attics.
  11. Keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees F or higher if using ceiling fans. Don’t air-condition unused rooms. This will save your utility bill quite a bit!
  12.  Maintain your air conditioners properly and on a regular routine to maximize efficiency.
  13. When possible, delay heat-generating activities such as running laundry and dishwashing machines until evening on hot days.
  14.  Provide shade for your room A/C, or the outside half of your central A/C if at all possible. This will increase the unit’s efficiency by 5 -10%.
  15. Clean your A/C’s air filter every month during cooling season. Normal dust build-up can reduce airflow by 1% per week.
  16. Turn off your A/C when you leave for more than two hours or at least raise that setting to 78 while having the blinds and curtains closed tight.

This Week’s Closings, Congratulations!

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Hilborn

Mr. and Mrs. Andy Knight

Ms. Sara Wade

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Pollard

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Waggoner

Dr. Deborah Barnhart

Ms. Catherine Wells

Mr. Kevin Lade



This Week’s New Listings For Sale:

102 Bumper Crop Lane $148,900

107 Fox Haven Lane $114,900

105 Country Charm Lane $110,000

116 Indian Valley Road $205,000

12098 Springwood Drive $289,900

14 Stockton Street $365,000

13010 SE Camelot Drive $345,000

4916 Montauk Trail $196,900

15 SW Walnut Cove Blvd. $339,900

214 Shady Hill Circle $130,000

2609 Jarvis Street $136,000

115 Fox Run Drive $269,900

293 River Cove Road $269,900

1519 Oshaughnessy $175,000

1521 Oshaughnessy $175,000

114 Val Sapra Circle $145,000

1026 Wauchula Drive $450,000

2049 Woodlawn Drive $81,900

18403 Menefee Road $125,000

0 Falling Leaf Lane $75,000

102 Narcissus Lane $125,000

575 Byrd Road $925,000

14553 Sara Beth Drive $129,900


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