Keeping cool in the summer can be quite a challenge. The hotter it gets, the more energy we use, and this only makes the problem worse in the long run as energy use contributes to climate change.
There are some things anyone can do, however, to reduce their dependence on energy and air conditioning when the sun is high and summer is here. Air conditioning units are incredibly energy inefficient, and can often fail when you need them the most.
Here are seven ideas anyone can use on a hot day to keep the temperature in their home down without relying on expensive air conditioning.
Try to Get Some Cross Ventilation in Your Home
Home ventilation is essential on a hot, sunny day. Having windows open at opposite sides of a room or space, or through your home, can help you create some cross ventilation and get a consistent and natural breeze running through your house.
Experiment by opening different doors and windows in your home, and try to incorporate any wind or breeze that is outside your house. If you can get a cool and natural draft breezing through your house, you will keep your house cool without using any energy except the wind.
Swap Heavy Home Fabrics for Lighter Materials
Heavy materials on beds, couches and chairs can absorb a lot of heat, not just from the air, but also from our bodies. If it is hot in the daytime, it is likely to be hot at night as well. You can make the summer much more pleasant to sleep through by changing your bedding to lighter, more breathable cottons.
Draping sofas and chairs in lighter cottons can also keep them cool on summer days. Color is more important here, so try to use white or light-colored sheets so that they reflect heat, rather than absorb it.
Place Plants in and Around the Home
Plants and shrubs are well known for absorbing excess heat and keeping an area cool. Town and city planners will often consider this when planning areas in hot climates, lining public areas with hedges and shrubs to keep people cool in the heat.
You can do this both inside and outside the home, and the kitchen is a great place to start. Why not plant an edible garden in the kitchen, with fresh herbs to use when cooking?
Use Efficient Fans, Not Air Conditioning
Air conditioning is an incredibly inefficient use of energy. By using electric fans from a company like Lasko to cool the air by creating a breeze, you save a huge amount of money and the planet. Air conditioning is not just energy inefficient, but will often only work effectively in moderate to high temperatures and will struggle to keep a home’s temperature down in sustained high temperatures, like a heatwave.
Fans push the air in a room around, creating a breeze like effect that cools the skin as it passes you. The energy efficient motors in these simple devices mean you can have dozens of fans around the house for less than the cost of running an air conditioning unit.
Paint the Exterior of Your Home in White
The chances are you have a home that may be painted or covered in dark paint or materials. These are heat absorbent and can make a home feel like an oven on a hot day.
Simply by painting the exterior of the house in reflective colors (white is the best), you can greatly reduce the internal temperature of a home, especially if you go all in and paint the roof too.
Keep Your Blinds or Drapes Closed
Windows get incredibly hot on a sunny day, and can radiate heat into a room. The hot sunlight that comes through them heats the room further, and that heat is absorbed by the materials in your home, making couches feel like hot plates.
On a sunny day, it makes more sense to close the blinds or drapes, or even put up blackout blinds to keep as much sun as possible out of the home.
Change Your Body’s Temperature, Not the Home’s
You can achieve a lot on a hot day by regulating your own temperature. There will only ever be so much that you can do to keep a house cool, but if you start with yourself, the other measures you take become much more effective.
Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and even take a cool shower multiple times a day if the weather is particularly warm. Our bodies can absorb a lot of water through our skin, and our pores get blocked with sweat on hot days keeping us from staying cool.
Hopefully, this quick guide has given you the information you need to stay cool this summer without having to use expensive and inefficient air conditioning that costs the planet more than it costs your pocket.