Texas Living

How to Keep Your Home Cool During Texas Heat Waves

By Patrick Reardon 5.6.24

Texas is no stranger to triple-digit temperatures in the summer. For most Texans, that means days on end spent mostly indoors to avoid the sweltering heat — and several weeks where a hardworking air conditioner is racking up a crazy-high energy bill.

But there’s no need to sweat it out all summer just to save a buck. Here are six ways to keep your home cool without busting the bank.

1. Set Your Thermostat to 78

It’s a matter of some debate on what the best temperature to keep your home cool is, but the Public Utility Commission of Texas has weighed in with an official recommendation: It’s suggested to set your thermostat at 78 degrees to reduce strain on your central cooling system — which, in turn, reduces strain on your energy bill.

2. Turn Up the Temp While You’re Away

If your house is going to be empty for an extended period of time, give your AC a break by cranking up the thermostat. The U.S. Department of Energy says that raising a thermostat 7­–10 degrees for eight hours a day can save up to 10% on your summer bill. This is especially helpful if you’ve got a programmable thermostat; you can schedule your home to begin cooling on your way home from work or school.

3. Close Your Blinds

Keep the curtains shut in unoccupied rooms and while you’re out of the house to block out the blazing Texas sun. The Department of Energy reports that medium-colored draperies with plastic backings can reduce unwanted heat by around 33% in the summer.

4. Check Your Ceiling Fans’ Spin

If your home has ceiling fans with slanted blades, you’ll want to make sure they’re spinning in the right direction. In the summer, ceiling fans should spin counterclockwise to create a cool downdraft. (Most fans have a manual switch that reverses the spin direction.)

5. Open Interior Doors

While the AC is running and ceiling fans are on, keep the interior doors of your home open to create a better airflow from room to room. Closed-off rooms will create pressure changes and trap that precious cool air from traveling through the vents efficiently.

6. Inspect Window and Door Seals

One of the biggest culprits against keeping your home cool is your window and door sealants. Use weatherstripping and caulk on visible gaps around windowpanes and door frames to keep cool air in and warm air out.

Now that you’ve got the interior of your home taken care of, learn to prepare the exterior for heat waves.

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