Cool Your Home Without Turning on the Air Conditioning
Summer is fast approaching. Keep your utility costs down by cooling your home without using up your budget.
There are many reasons why some of us tend to put off turning on the air conditioning until it becomes absolutely necessary. You may not want to drive up the cost of your electric bill. You may not like having to keep the windows closed for the season like it’s still winter. Maybe you are “allergic” to conditioned air, like me. I don’t know if air conditioning allergy is a real thing or not, but for some reason, I end up with severe sinus issues when I spend too much time in it. My eyes itch, my sinuses feel seriously dried out- to the point that it’s painful- and sleeping in it is becoming almost a cause for divorce in my house. City Spouse is always hot, and the fact that I do not want the air on causes some severe dissension.
No matter why you are putting off turning on the air conditioning, here are some ways to keep cool indoors while it’s smoldering outside.
If you cook, bake or can in the house rather than in a summer kitchen or camp kitchen, try to do it in the evening. The house will have all night to cool off from the excess heat that you are causing by turning on your stove or oven. If your meal plan and family tastes allow, try serving salads, sandwiches, or grilled or quickly heated meals.
Use the Cool Night Air
After the sun sets and the outside air cools off for the evening, get as much of the cooler air inside as possible. Use fans (especially an attic fan) will help do this quickly and efficiently. Fans require much less electricity than running your air conditioning unit, and they do not require chemical refrigerants. In the morning, close all of your windows to keep in the cool air that you collected overnight.
Utilize Ceiling Fans
Make sure that you keep the air circulating to naturally condition and cool it with ceiling fans. Those with 2-story homes will especially benefit from using ceiling fans to help the hot air from overheating any upstairs rooms. Make sure that you have them switched to blow the correct way. During the summer you want the fan to blow air straight down, so your ceiling fan needs to run in a counter-clockwise direction (as you look up at it). The warmer it is, the higher the speed should be.
By covering all south- and west-facing windows during the day, you can prevent direct sunlight from heating your indoor air. Keeping most of the sunshine from penetrating your interior during the day will help utilize that cool night air that you collected the night before. Hang heavy insulating blankets over the windows, or use “black out” curtains to achieve the same effect.
Just the act of taking a cool shower before bed can help keep you cool all night as you sleep. Give children a cool bath after an afternoon nap. Adults can cool off quickly after work by jumping in a cool shower when they arrive home in the afternoon.
Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated and keeping a cool drink on-hand can help tremendously. When you start feeling overheated, take a few sips of a glass of ice water (maybe with some fresh fruit juice added) to cool you down almost instantaneously.
Schedule Around the Heat
Hot desert dwelling people arrange their days to fight the heat. Taking a “siesta” in a cool room or area of the year during the hottest afternoon hours can help keep you cooler. Make up for this downtime by working in the evening, when the temperatures are bearable. Plan your hard mental jobs in the morning and expect to have brain meltdown during the hot hours. This is where your nap or siesta will be a lifesaver. It’s a simple fact that humans just don’t think or function as well in extreme heat.
You don’t have to just suffer from a huge electric bill all summer from running the air conditioning non-stop. These strategies can make a huge difference even if you just use them in conjunction with running the air conditioning. If you have central air, turn it to warmer during the times you are not home. Install a digital thermostat to set schedules around times you are at work. You can still insulate windows to keep direct sunlight from counteracting your air conditioning. The use of ceiling fans with air conditioning can still help you keep your budget lower by effectively circulating the air better.
Try using some of these strategies this summer and see if you notice a difference- not just in your electric bill but in the way you adjust to the scorching days of summer.