No matter where you live, summers in the United States can get hot. Air conditioning certainly helps, but no one enjoys the steep electricity bills that often result from all that chilled air. So how do you keep your cool when it’s hot outside? Check out these creative tips!
1. Make your windows work for you
If your apartment or townhouse is in an area of the country that’s extremely warm during the day, but not humid, you have more options with your windows. As long as the temperature outside is cooler than it is inside (for instance, at night in a dry area), you can open your windows overnight and allow your home to cool down naturally. Be sure to turn back your A/C unit to make the most of this trick!
Another great idea is to position a box fan in your window with the blades pointed out—so that you’re blowing the hot air out of your apartment home, not pulling outside air in. It will cool down your space much more quickly.
If opening your windows during the summer is not an option because of humidity or other considerations, then it’s all about finding the right window covering. Reflective film pressed over the window panes that get hit with direct sunlight can deflect a tremendous amount of heat while allowing light in, and cloth draperies can provide a secondary layer to keep the interior of your home cool and comfortable. If you don’t mind losing the extra light, consider blackout curtains. These ultra thick drapes can significantly reduce heat entering the home right along with the sunlight, and are a great idea for eastern or western-facing rooms that get a lot of sun.
2. Water, water, everywhere…
Who doesn’t remember running through sprinklers or splashing through pools of water as a child? A quick spray of water can bring your temperature down quickly. Chill a few misting bottles in the refrigerator for a quick, refreshing spray to your face and wrists, or have one handy at your home office desk. You can also purchase special towels that get cold when you soak them in water—and stay cold for up to an hour. Definitely something to check out!
Make sure you’re taking in water the old-fashioned way, too. Keeping yourself well hydrated is one of the best ways to manage your internal temperature. Drink H20 early and often when the heat is on!
Along with all that water, consider eating a lighter diet. By focusing on light meals with lots of fruits and vegetables (vs. heavy starches or thick cuts of meat), you’ll help your body work more efficiently and stay cool.
3. Support your air conditioner’s efforts
Help your air conditioning unit keep your entire house comfortable with the strategic use of fans. If you’re working or sleeping in a room with a ceiling fan, turn it on, and consider positioning small fans in front of your outbound air conditioning vents to push the air further into the room. Pro Tip: Fans cool people, not the air itself, so don’t think you need to keep them on if you’re not in the room. Save some electricity and shut them off until you return!
Don’t forget the bathroom vents, either. Turn on the venting fan, especially while taking a shower, to quickly cool down the room.
4. Shut down your electronics
We’re so used to keeping things running all the time—from our phones to every electronic device we own—that it’s easy to forget how much electricity these items use…and how much heat they produce. Get in the habit of turning off your electronics completely when you’re not using them, vs. simply “putting them to sleep.” You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make—in your energy expenditure as well as the temperature in your rooms.
Happy Summer, everyone, and…stay cool!