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Beat the Twin Cities Heat: Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home

Michael Kaslow

Michael is often described by his family, close friends and team as "the glue" that keeps everything together and bonded...

Michael is often described by his family, close friends and team as "the glue" that keeps everything together and bonded...

Jun 10 1 minutes read

The summer in the Twin Cities can swing from pleasantly warm to "Is this the surface of the sun?" in no time, leaving residents looking for ways to keep their homes cool without cranking up the energy bills. Fear not, my fellow Minnesotans, for maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient home during our humid summer months is not as challenging as it may seem. With a sprinkle of local insight and a smidge of ingenuity, here's how we can outsmart the heat:

1. Seal Those Leaky Borders

Before the Twin Cities transforms into a tropical oasis (minus the ocean), inspect your home for any air leaks. That pesky winter draft might become your summer nightmare, allowing cool air to escape. Weather-stripping and caulking around windows and doors are your allies in the battle against heat. A small investment here can lead to significant savings, not to mention a cozier atmosphere for binge-watching "Fargo."

2. Think Insulation, Think Winter

Good insulation is like a good winter coat: It keeps you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. We Minnesotans pay lots of attention to our winter gear, so let's do the same for our homes. Check the insulation in your attic, walls, and floors against recommended levels. Our dramatic temperature shifts from season to season mean that adequate insulation is key to comfort and energy savings all year round.

3. Energy-Efficient Appliances: A win-win

When it’s time to update those appliances, choosing energy-efficient models is like opting for a bike over a car for your daily commute around one of our many lakes—it’s better for the environment and your wallet. Appliances boasting the ENERGY STAR label meet strict energy efficiency criteria and are perfect for keeping those summer utility bills in check. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing you’re reducing your carbon footprint, a value many of us Twin Citians hold dear.

4. Embrace the Breeze

There's nothing quite like a Minnesota morning breeze, except maybe a Minnesota evening breeze. Capitalize on these by opening windows to allow for cross-ventilation. Installing window fans or attic vents can be a game-changer, pulling cool air in and pushing hot air out, letting you enjoy the natural climate control mother nature provides.

5. Smart Window Treatments

The sun shining over Lake Minnetonka is a beautiful sight, but when it’s beaming into your living room, it can turn it into a sauna. Light-colored curtains, blinds, or shades can block out that intense sun, especially during the "it's 90 degrees at 10 a.m." part of the day. Opting for reflective backings will further help in keeping your living spaces cool as you plan your weekend escape to the North Shore.

6. Thermostat Tactics

While the urge to turn your home into an ice palace is strong, consider the virtues of a programmable thermostat. Programming your thermostat to align with when you're home and awake can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling. Setting the temp to a balmy yet efficient 78°F when you’re home is a solid choice. Remember, every degree lower can significantly affect your energy bill, giving you more to spend at the State Fair.

7. HVAC System TLC

Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is crucial, particularly before we hit peak summer. A professional tune-up and replacing air filters regularly can keep your system running efficiently, ensuring you're getting the most bang for your buck. Plus, it's much better to discover any issues before you're relying on your AC to keep you sane during a heatwave.

8. Consider Energy-Efficient Windows

If you've been contemplating window upgrades, energy-efficient options can be a wise investment. Not only do they help keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, but they can also add to your home's value – a smart move in our competitive Twin Cities housing market.

9. Fan-tastic Cooling

Ceiling fans are the unsung heroes of cooling, offering a cost-effective complement to AC by improving air circulation. Setting them to rotate counterclockwise can create a gentle updraft, keeping you cool. It’s a bit like having a personal mini breeze – without the mosquitos.

10. Go Green with Shade

Planting trees strategically around your property can not only enhance your home’s curb appeal but can also provide much-needed shade, reducing the heat absorbed by your home. Plus, investing in landscaping with native Minnesota plants can add a touch of natural beauty that’s both environmentally friendly and efficient.

Implementing these energy-efficient tips can save you from the summer heat's wrath here in the Twin Cities, allowing you to enjoy our beautiful summers without dreading the energy bill. It’s about being smart, not sacrificial; after all, we live in a place of extremes, and there’s no reason we can’t navigate them with a bit of savvy and a lot of humor. Enjoy the summer, everyone!

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