Keep it Cool: Beat the heat without abusing the AC

Image via greenhomeguide.comToday’s temperature is a balmy 92 degrees, although chances are it feels much hotter inside your home. Here are a few tips on staying cool without cranking up the energy-guzzling AC.

  • Nothing beats the power of a squirt bottle: Squirt your neck, face and shoulders to receive the ultimate cooling affect. Don’t worry too much about getting your clothes wet, as they will dry off quite quickly.
  • Give the oven a rest: Treat yourself to a dinner out, go to a local park and have cold sandwiches, or just stay home and enjoy fruit salad and vegetables! Your oven is a source of heat and while you may love the smell of freshly baked cookies, save that for the winter.  The oven can make your house anywhere from 3-30 degrees warmer. Also be sure to switch off any sources of heat, including your computer/laptop, lights, toaster, or even stereos. Think of all the energy you will save too!
  • Use a hint of mint: Try a few minty lotions, eat mint chocolate-chip ice cream, put mint leaves in your smoothie, or have a candy cane! Mint refreshes the skin and will leave you with a pleasant cooling sensation.
  • Sweat: Sweating produces water vapor which takes heat away from your body if it is exposed to air and allowed to evaporate. The water that evaporates on you skin gives you an instant cooling sensation. If you want to keep that water vapor evaporating more often, wet a bandana and wrap it around your head. This will offer you an effective cooling system. 

Plus, some of Samantha Wittchen’s chill out tips from GRID’s August issue’s energy column (pg. 8) after the jump.

  • On days when the outdoor temperature is warmer than the temperature inside of your house, close all windows and exterior doors to keep the cooler air in and the hotter air out. Adding window shades helps block the radiation heating from the sun, and if you go to insulated window shades, you can even reduce some of the conduction heat gain.
  • Once outside temperatures drop, place a fan in a window so that it exhausts trapped hot air to the outside, and tightly close all windows near the fan. Open windows in rooms far from the exhaust fan (preferably on a shaded or north side of the house), and place another fan in one of the windows to draw in cooler air. If you live in a multi-story house or apartment, the exhaust fan should be on the upper level, and the intake fan should be on the lower level.
  • For those days when you do need AC, taking the time to right-size your window unit, performing routine maintenance on it –like cleaning the filter and coils – and forking over a little extra dough for an energy-efficient model can net you savings between 20 and 50 percent, according to the DOE.

Check out even more helpful hints on low-cost, low-energy cooling here.