As summer gets in full swing and drives most of us indoors, cranking up the AC seems like an easy escape from the summer heat. But what if you don’t have AC or don’t want the electric bills to burn a hole in your bank account? Here’s how we stay cool at home when the temperature heats up.
Lowering the blinds during the day to block extra sunlight can decrease your home’s internal temperature by up to 20 degrees. Choose light-colored blinds to reflect instead of absorb heat, and add a cross-breeze with a DIY air conditioner. Just place a shallow pan of ice in front of a fan, and let the air spray a cooling mist as the ice melts.
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” is pretty good advice when it comes to summer cooking. Rather than make a hot house even hotter, head outside and fire up the grill, preferably with a cold drink in hand. If you’re short on backyard space, you can still avoid the stove and oven with some of our favorite no bake recipes.
Cotton might not seem like the most luxurious material, but comfort trumps all when it comes to summer sleeping. Switch out your winter flannel for lightweight, breathable cotton (or blends like percale or sateen) that will stay cool and wrinkle-free through hot nights. If you really need to cool down quickly, pop your sheets into a bag and chill them in the freezer an hour before bedtime.
Switch your ceiling fan to rotate counter clockwise, pushing cool air down toward the floor (and you). In the winter, reverse the fan to clockwise to circulate rising warm air. To easily see the direction of the blades, stand underneath the fan. If you feel air flow from the fan, it’s spinning counter clockwise.
It might seem intuitive to close the doors of a room where an AC or fan is running to trap cool air inside, but it turns out an open door policy is best. Air is constantly traveling through a home, and closing the door interrupts — but doesn’t stop — its flow. Your AC or fan ends up using more energy trying to maintain the steady airflow through the door’s cracks.
When you switch on a light, you’re also adding heat to the room. Turn off the lights and unplug any electronics (phones, laptops, floor lamps, speakers) when they’re not in use. This quick habit not only keeps the electric bill down, but also the temperatures, too.