Summer is in full swing, and the country is feeling it. La Niña is predicted to warm up virtually all of the continental United States, which means this summer will be a fight to keep cool. Rather than cranking up the AC, however, you can avoid sweltering by using some economically savvy and hot-weather-friendly tips to beat the heat. Here are five ways to stay cool this summer without air conditioning.
1. Cool down your body from the inside out
A great way to bring yourself some relief from the sun is to drink and eat cold things to make yourself feel colder. Drinking plenty of water will help keep you hydrated, but ice water will chill you down as well.
You don’t have to limit yourself to water, either. Ice pops, slushies and smoothies can be delicious snacks as well as helpful on a hot summer’s day. There are plenty of ways to add flavor to ice and make it more fun. Consider pouring a flavorful ingredient, like lemonade or tea, into an ice tray and use it to cool down drinks without watering them down.
Drink plenty of fluids, particularly cold fluids, to help your body maintain a comfortable temperature. It’ll help you produce sweat, which is your body’s natural defense against overheating, and it will bring at least a temporary chill.
2. Refrigerate your sheets before bed
A particularly effective way of fighting off the heat at night is to make use of your sheets.
Soaking a top sheet or fitted sheet in water, wringing it out, and then leaving it in the refrigerator for a few hours before bed will give you an excellent cooling device as you sleep. The cold sheets—and you will want to use linen or some other light fabric that will quickly dry and not stay wet for this—will feel great against your skin throughout the night.
If you’re not interested in refrigerating your bedding, small washcloths are a less cumbersome and more targeted cooling device for keeping cool. Make your to place them on pulse points on your body, which will cool your body down faster. Your neck, wrist and elbow are all examples of good spots to cool you down.
3. Use fans strategically
Fans don’t cool air; they just move it around. However, a bit of know-how can still ensure your fan is used most efficiently to keep your body cooler. Positioning fans in hallways and windows can bring cool air in while pushing warm air away, and makes things feel cooler.
Putting a bowl of ice water in front of a fan spray a gentle, cold mist around, and will work greatly to your advantage in order to make everything feel cooler.
Finally, your ceiling fan’s direction can determine just how effective it is at cooling you down. In the summer, having your fan move counter-clockwise will keep you cooler for the summer as it creates a cooling breeze in that direction (moving it clockwise will circulate warm air).
4. Pay attention to your windows and doors
Your windows play a critical role in determining the temperature of your house; a few smart adjustments can bring the temperature down by several degrees.
Setting up a cover or shade over your windows will prevent heat from getting in in the first place, as will keeping concrete away from your windows. If you can’t install an awning outside every window or redesign your yard, however, good blinds will also be effective in keeping the heat out. Make sure your curtains have a white back, as that will reflect the most light.
Honeycomb blinds do more than other blinds to trap heat against the window, preventing it from circulating in your house. Investing in good curtains will keep light and heat out efficiently.
Finally, make sure that your windows are all sealed up and properly installed. Gaps and cracks can let out cool air, which will make keeping the house cool much harder.
And of course, don’t forget about your doors. Cracks round the edges and through the key hole let cool air escape. This may sound counter intuitive, but sealing yourself in your home is the best way to stay cool on a hot day. You should even consider a keyless entry system on your front door. These don’t let any cool air escape and are simple for a locksmith to install in any home.
5. Avoid using heat-producing appliances
When it’s sweltering outside, the last thing you want is to have it sweltering inside. But turning on your oven or stove will do just that, no matter what. Having a 400-degree anything in your house is bound to heat things up, so when possible, avoid cooking with these tools in the summer.
Instead, opt for outdoor grilling, which keeps the heat out. A slow cooker will also keep heat to a minimum while still providing you with decent variety for meals.
Certain light bulbs are also more likely to generate a lot of heat. 90 percent of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs is given off as heat. Switch to CFLs for cooler lighting.
If you have the right temperature, try air-drying your clothes as well. Dryers are also a big source of heat, and your clothes won’t be so warm when they’re done.
Air conditioning can get expensive, particularly when the temperatures keep rising as they will this summer. Maximizing use of these techniques will reduce the need for air conditioning or eliminate it altogether. Staying cool this summer doesn’t have to be an expensive task.
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com