There are many things that you can do to keep cool in the summer. You can drink more liquids, eat salads, enjoy some ice cream, take showers, etc. But none of that ultimately helps if you can’t lower the temperature inside your home.
Keeping cool in the summer is all about balance. You balance hacking the body with hacking the house with the following tips.
1. Invest in a Portable AC Unit
Portable ACs are big and bulky and they need to be positioned near open windows in order to push the hot air outside. That being said, they’re amazing at cooling rooms one by one. They can also complement a central AC system if there are areas that aren’t cooled evenly.
2. Blackout Curtains
Blackout curtains or blinds can block out most of the sunlight. Closing your curtains and your windows during the day can make a huge difference.
On top of blocking light, these dense curtains also have good noise-dampening properties. A bit of peace and quiet might also help you cool off, especially if you live in a busy high-traffic neighborhood.
3. Evaporative Cooler
Without power-hungry compressors, evaporative coolers consume less power than ACs. They’re obviously better at cooling individual rooms than the entire house. However, the cooling effect is much more pleasing on the skin.
An evaporative cooler usually consists of a fan and a cooling pad. Another great thing about this type of product is that it’s portable. This means that you can effectively reduce the temperature in whatever room you’re using the most.
If spending money is not an option, you can create your own evaporative cooling with a fan. By placing a bowl of ice water in front of it at an angle and turning on the fan, the cool air gets distributed around the room, thus reducing the temperature.
4. Counter-clockwise Ceiling Fan
This is an oldie but a goodie. When ceiling fans rotate counter-clockwise they push cool air down. This is why ceiling fans are more effective than table fans, even without considering the size difference.
5. Use a Whole-House Fan
You might not be able to do this on your own. However, at the cost of a fan and professional installation, this might just make you forget about how hot summer can really be.
A whole-house fan ventilation system can be installed in any home that has an attic. The way it works is simple. It draws in hot air and pushes it through the ventilation system.
The trick is to use it while your windows are open so that cool air can enter the home and replace the hot air. A whole-house fan is best used early in the morning, late in the evening, and at night.
6. Solar Panels – Turn Heat into Energy
The benefits of using solar power are too many to discuss here. But, what’s important to understand is that covering your roof with solar panels also reduces the amount of heat in your home. As any contractor will tell you, a lot of the heat inside a home comes from the roof. After all, it’s the roof that gets the most sun exposure.
Using multiple solar panels can reduce the roof surface area that gets exposed to direct sunlight. Therefore, your attic won’t heat up as much, and your home will have more bearable temperatures in the summer. As a bonus, you get some extra power which you can put to good use.
7. Attic Insulation
Not everyone realizes how important attic insulation is. Since a lot of the heat comes from the roof, attic insulation can act as a heat barrier which will help you cut down energy costs during hot seasons.
Insulation not only prevents excessive heat from entering your attic but it will also limit the amount of heat transfer between the attic and lower levels. So, put your telescoping ladder to some good use and get your attic insulated.
8. Change Your Mattress
Some mattresses trap a lot of heat, especially older high-end memory foam mattresses. This won’t reduce the bedroom temperature by much but it will help you sleep more comfortably. Alternatively, you can add a cooling mattress topper, if it’s not an option to throw away your megabucks Tempur-Pedic.
9. Use Summer Sheets
There’s a reason why some sheets are intended for summer use and others for winter use. Summer sheets don’t trap as much heat as they’re optimized for air circulation.
Lightweight cotton fiber is the best for summer bedding. You can also stick your sheets in the freezer for a few hours in the afternoon. When you put them on the bed at night, room temperature will drop faster, making it more comfortable to fall asleep in.
10. Sleep with Your Windows Open
Sleeping with the windows open is almost a no-brainer. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, the cold night air can really bring down the temperature inside your home. However, remember to close the windows as soon as you wake up. That way you can buy a few more hours until the temperature really starts rising.
11. Use Proper Door Management
How many rooms do you really use during the day? Try closing the doors on rooms you don’t use. That way, the cool air doesn’t travel to every room in your home. While the closed rooms will be considerably hotter, your kitchen, living room, office – whatever room you use – won’t be.
12. Clean or Change AC Filters Regularly
Are you already using an AC and it still doesn’t feel cool enough? – Chances are that your AC filters are filthy or in need of replacement.
During the summer, AC filters work overtime. You either need to clean them regularly every few days or so, or replace them every month. It’s a bit of an investment but it can improve the effectiveness of your AC and help cool your home all summer long.
13. Buy a Dehumidifier
Dry heat is better than humid heat. You might wonder why weather reports claim that some city has 85-degree weather but “feels like” 95 – that’s the effect of excess humidity (though in the winter “feels like” is about the wind chill). This is why you can use a dehumidifier on a humid to feel cooler.
14. Ditch the Oven
Do you like your slow-cooked pork chops or Asian stews all year round? – No one is saying to ditch them during the summer. Just move your cooking outside if you can. Invest in a barbeque grill or a smoker, for example.
The less time you spend cooking inside, the less unnecessary heat you generate. Or, if you must cook inside, consider cooking at night. Cook more food once and then meal prep for a few days at a time. The cool night air should help get rid of that kitchen heat by the time you wake up.
15. Replace Incandescent Lights
Unplugging electronics is a solid idea, especially for small homes. But your lighting system may also add fuel to the fire. Incandescent and halogen bulbs convert electricity to more heat than light. In the summer, this can add a few degrees to the interior temperature of your home.
16. Use Plants to Your Advantage
Blackout curtains won’t keep your windows and walls from heating up in the sun. If you want to be even more prepared, consider using plants to your advantage.
Planting trees in front of your sun-facing windows is an obvious choice. There are shorter-term solutions too, such as hanging a bunch of plants in front of your windows.
This will provide you with an initial sun barrier and make your blackout curtains even more effective.
17. Get Smart with Your Fans
Here’s another interesting way to lower the room temperature. Using a single fan to blow air around in a circle doesn’t always accomplish a lot. However, creating a network of fans may be more helpful, if you don’t mind the noise.
Use a fan to blow air into a room and another fan to blow air straight out the window. If you also add a bowl of ice in front of the doorway fan, you’re in business. This won’t work for the entire house but it might help a lot in a particular room.
18. Use Fewer Electronic Devices
Every electronic device that you use generates some amount of heat. Some more, some less. The thing to keep in mind is that even though TV sets and desktop computers don’t generate as much heat as they used to, it’ll all add up.
Unplug and refrain from using as many unnecessary leisure devices as you can. The sun heats up your house enough from the outside. There’s no need to add fuel to the fire from the inside.
19. Store Your Rugs
Applying some cool cloths to certain parts of your body can make you feel cooler. Keeping your feet cool in the summer is one of the best ways to stay frosty.
Putting your rugs into storage and walking barefoot on tile or wood flooring is a great thing to do in the summer. You will also be eliminating some of the fabrics that are great at trapping heat.
20. Cover Your Furniture
Believe it or not, adding fabric to your furniture might help. Use white, light fabric covers on most of the furniture in your home. White doesn’t attract as much sunlight as darker colors, which means that your furniture will absorb less heat.
This is also a good trick to use in the bedroom during the day. Reflective sheets can keep your mattress from overheating and feeling uncomfortable by the time you go to sleep at night.
21. Create Your Own Breeze
You can open windows at both ends of your home. By doing this, the air will move freely and it will feel like the temperature is cooler. You can make things even better if you can open up a top window facing downwind and a bottom window at the other end.
22. Dampening Curtains
This only works if the previous step is an option for you. If you can create a breeze then you might also want to try dampening the curtains for the downwind window. This creates a similar effect to using a bowl of cold water in front of a fan.
It’s as simple as using a spray bottle to dampen the curtains.
23. Use a Ground-Coupled Heat Exchanger
A ground-coupled heat exchanger or an earth cooling tube might also help you reduce the temperature inside your home. Earth tubes are buried a few feet under the ground.
Before outside air reaches the ventilation system in your home, it goes through the earth tubes and gets cooled. Note that this may not be as efficient in every environment. Earth tubes don’t offer much cooling if you live in a very humid climate or if your place has too much shallow bedrock or a high water table.
24. Take Your Workouts Outside
Do you have a home gym or a small room with some workout equipment? Use a thermometer and check the room temperature before and after your workout. You will be surprised by the heat generation of physical exertion.
Stop working out inside your home and either join a gym for the summer or take your workouts to the backyard. The extra air will do you good anyway and there will be one less heat-generating source inside your home.
25. Use Aluminum Sheets
Taping thick aluminum sheets over your windows won’t look pretty. But you can’t argue with the reflective capabilities of aluminum sheeting.
Putting the aluminum sheet outside the window would be even better, but it’s not always an option. Sticking it on the inside is better than nothing. Use removable tape to make sure that you can easily remove it when it’s no longer necessary.
26. Install Light Door Curtains
This method works if you also create a breeze in your home.
Install some light fabric door curtains and use them instead of doors. You can dampen the curtain and open a few windows to create a current and lower the temperature inside your home.
Do this with enough rooms which are in the direct path of the breeze and you will quickly notice the temperature changing for the better. Make sure to use light, almost see-through fabric, so that it doesn’t stay wet all the time.
Stay Frosty My Friends
There you have it. Most of these methods may seem too good to be true. But, keep in mind that before air conditioning technology, people were able to find ways to cool their homes for the summer. Therefore, there’s no reason not to try some old tried-and-tested cooling methods along with your fancy modern equipment.