Winter’s been and gone, and now we’re in the peak of summer. That was quick, wasn’t it! I bet you probably remember a particularly nippy day when you were praying for the weather to pick up. Now that we’ve hit our first heat wave, many of us are already sick of everything being so hot and clammy!
While summer is great for going out or getting the gardening done, it can make staying in the house more than a little uncomfortable. However, you don’t have to simply sit there and take it! Here are a few tricks for keeping a house cool which everyone should know.
The first tip I can offer is to dehumidify the house. This may be unnecessary depending on the area you live in. California, for example, gets absolutely blistering summers. However, the whole area is pretty dry, so you don’t have to worry about anywhere getting exceptionally humid. In other states, such as South Carolina, it’s almost impossible to get dry after you take a bath!
Basically, in more humid areas, your sweat doesn’t evaporate so easily. Instead, it clings to your body, soaks through your clothes, and leaves you sticky and grumpy. First of all, there’s a simple trick that you can use to make a humid home a little more bearable. Natural materials such as cotton are much more evaporation-friendly, so find some loose-fitting clothes that will help you air out. Obviously though, this will only take you so far. The best thing you can do is purchase a dehumidifier. These aren’t exactly cheap, but work like a charm!
Next, it may be time to re-assess the number of electrical appliances you’re using in your house. It’s easy to forget, but everything that’s plugged in in your home generates energy and heat.
By themselves, they’re not significant at all. However, when you have enough of them running at once and the day’s a total scorcher, it can all make a very significant difference. Start getting into the habit of turning off and unplugging any appliances when they’re not in use. This may be easier said than done if you have teenagers who absolutely need to have their phones on all the time. However, it will keep the home cooler, is better for the environment, and will save you some money in the long run.
You can also reduce the heat in your home by switching some of your lightbulbs out for energy efficient ones. LED bulbs produce far less heat than traditional ones, and again are a little greener. There’s also a financial incentive, and not just because your electricity bill will be reduced. Some utility companies will actually offer rebates to homes that use energy-efficient bulbs. Of course, with all that sun streaming in, you shouldn’t need to use electric lights all that much.
Another good method of making the home a little cooler is to wean yourself off the oven. No, I’m not suggesting that you and your family get take-outs every day of the summer! There are just cooler ways of cooking than using a conventional oven.
Try to plan your meals a little in advance so you don’t have to use the oven when the sun’s up. Instead, stick to meals that use the microwave, grill, or maybe a crock pot. If you are going to use the oven, try to do it after the heat of the day has peaked. 4pm is usually the best time. Seen as it’s so nice out, another idea would be to start cooking more outside. I know that when you hear the word “barbecue”, you probably think about burgers, hotdogs, and other foods that are bad for your heart! It doesn’t stop there though!
There are many healthier foods you can prepare on a barbecue, or using a charcoal grill, camp stove and so on. If you’re feeling really outdoorsy, you could even use an open fire! Whether you love cooking or hate it, try to keep away from the oven. When you have something generating that much heat in the peak of summer, homes can quickly turn into a furnace!
Aside from these tips, there are a few other, smaller changes you can make to the home. They won’t make a lot of difference by themselves. However, picking out a few can make a very noticeable difference. Using tinted film on your windows will dim the sun when it’s getting a little too much.
Furthermore, it gives you the sensation of being in a limo! Obviously, keeping the sun out all hours of the day isn’t exactly pleasant, so you may want to try shading the outside of your windows instead. There are many affordable and effective sun shades out there which can really cool down a baking house. They may look like a hassle, but most are fairly easy to install. Simple appliances like fans can also be a big help.
The bottom-of-the-range table fans you can pick up everywhere are notoriously weak. However, if you can find a stirling engine stove fan for sale, you’ll notice a real difference with just the one unit. You may have some ceiling fans in your home, and might feel that they’re not doing much. If this is the case, try reversing the rotation.
Most ceiling fans have a switch on the fixture which changes the direction the fan spins in. Get it to blow in a counter-clockwise fashion, and the air will be forced down into the room, making it cooler. In the fall and winter, get it spinning clockwise. When I discovered that little hack I was kicking myself for days!
So, there you have it. Hopefully you made it to the end of this post without fainting in the heat! I also hope that some of this advice has made your home feel more like a home and less like a sauna. My final tip is to get out more and enjoy the weather while it’s there. You’ll miss it as soon as next winter rolls around!