In warmer months, it's tempting to turn on the air conditioning or stand in front of the nearest fan. But these aren't the only tips for staying cool. Turns out, there are many ways to protect your home from heat without racking up an electric bill. And they will make you feel like a DIY champion too.
Keep calm, and ...
1. Keep your blinds closed.
As simple as this tip may sound, Family Handyman notes that up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows, and using curtains and the like can save you up to 7 percent on bills and lower interior temperatures by as much as by 20 degrees. In other words, closing the blinds essentially keeps your home from becoming a miniature greenhouse, especially with south and west facing windows.
2. Better yet, invest in blackout curtains.
Blackout curtains block sunlight, naturally insulating the rooms in which they are installed. Consumer Reports recommends neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backs to reduce heat gain by up to 33 percent.
3. Be smart about your doors.
Closing unused rooms will prevent cold air from entering these areas during the hottest hours of the day. You'll also want to capitalize on the cooler night hours, allowing air to flow naturally through your home.
4. Hack a fan instead of turning on the A.C.
Not even an air conditioner can give off a fake sea breeze, but this simple trick can. Fill a mixing bowl with ice (or something equally cold, like an ice pack), and place it at an angle in front of a large fan so that the air comes out of the ice in a very cold, extra hazy state. Trust us: it's magic.
5. Swap your sheets.
Changing your bedding seasonally not only refreshes a room, but is also a great way to stay cool. While textiles like flannel sheets and fleece blankets are great for insulation, cotton is a smarter move this time of year as it breathes more and stays cool. As an added bonus, buy yourself a buckwheat pillow or two. Because buckwheat hulls have a natural air gap between them, they won't retain your body heat like conventional pillows, even when packed in a pillowcase.
6. Adjust the ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise.
You may not realize that your ceiling fan needs to be adjusted seasonally. Scheduled to run counterclockwise in the summer at a higher speed, the airflow from the fan will create a breezy effect that will keep you and your guests feeling cooler.
7. Focus on your body temperature, not your home.
If your ancestors survived without air conditioning, so can you. From sipping tasty iced drinks to applying a cold washcloth to strong pulse areas like the neck and wrists, cooling off from the inside out isn't a bad idea. Other tricks include being smart about your clothing choices and telling your partner that you won't snuggle until the sheets start to change color. Also try keeping a bowl of cold water next to your bed and soaking your feet if it feels warm in the middle of the night.
8. Turn on your bathroom fans.
Or the exhaust fan in your kitchen, for that matter. They both draw the hot air that rises after cooking or taking a steamy shower from your house or apartment.
9. Heat resistant your bed.
Head straight for the fountain and tuck a chilled Chillow under your head while you sleep. For the feet, fill a bottle with water and place it in the freezer before placing it at the foot of your bed. And it sounds strange, but lightly moistening your sheets or placing them in the freezer before bed will help you relax.
10. Sleep low.
The heat rises, so hit the downstairs couch or basement, or put your mattress on the floor if the air feels cooler there.
11. Let the night air in.
During the summer months, temperatures can drop at night. If this is the case you live in, take advantage of these refreshing hours by opening your windows before going to sleep. You can even create a wind tunnel by strategically setting your fans to force the perfect breeze. Just be sure to close your windows and blinds before the temperatures get too hot in the morning.
12. Hack your windows.
To create a cooling pressure stream, open the upper section of windows on the leeward side of your house, and open the lower section of windows on the upwind side. Also consider looking into a box, vent a window to expel hot air, and try moistening a sheet and then hanging it in front of a second open window as a curtain for a cool breeze.
13. Get rid of incandescent lights.
If you've ever needed motivation to make the switch to CFLs or CFLs, this is it. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy on the heat they give off, so throwing them out on the sidewalk will make a small difference to your home's cooling while reducing your electric bill.
14. Begin grilling.
It's obvious, but we're going to say it anyway - using your oven or stove in the summer will make your home warmer. If it already feels like 100 degrees in your home, the last thing you want to do is turn an oven to 400 degrees. Plus, who doesn't want to increase the mileage on their seasonal outdoor furniture and accessories?
15. Make some long-term improvements.
If you are really committed to the whole lack of air conditioning thing, you can make a couple of changes to your home that will keep it cooler for seasons to come. Insulated window films, for example, are a smart buy as they work in a similar way to blinds. And additions like awnings and planting trees or vines near light-facing windows will protect your home from the sun's rays, reduce the amount of heat your home absorbs, and make your investment even more valuable.
By Samantha Toscano and Suzy Strutner
Original article (in English)