Summer is here, and the dog days of summer can be brutal. So, I wanted to share several ways to keep you and your home cooler this summer.
These tips can help you stay cooler without the need to blast the AC.
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21 Clever hacks to make your house cooler…without cranking up the air conditioning
1. Change the AC filters
Yes, when you change the filters, you AC will work better and faster. Plus, you’ll improve your indoor air quality. And, you’ll lengthen the life expectancy of your air conditioner (believe me…learn from my mistakes).
2. Close the blinds
As simple as it sounds, this can make a huge difference. According to the Family Handyman, up to 30% of unwanted heat come in through the windows. So block that heat before in penetrates into the room, and reflect it back out the window (rather than turning your home into a greenhouse). This can have an especially big impact on south and west facing windows.
3. Invest in ceiling fan
Did you know that ceiling fans can make you cooler AND reduce your energy bills. This ceiling fan is one of the best and affordable. Bonus: they can be used in reverse in the winter to make the space warmer and save energy.
4. Get some energy efficient cellular blinds
These blinds trap the air before it penetrates into the room
5. Use white sheets/bedding and home decor
Lighter colors reflect the light; darker colors absorb the heat. So change to your summer bedding and use white or lighter colors whenever possible. If you have dark area rugs, you may want to store them until the fall.
6. Use a bowl of ice in front of your fan
This hack is brilliant. I tried it yesterday, and it was amazing! Play around with the positioning of the fan and bowl for the maximum effect. This is my favorite of the bunch. And, it won’t cost you a dime.
7. Get more plants
Plants do wonders for our indoor air quality (and our moods). As the water from the plants naturally evaporate (via transpiration), it has a cooling effect on your room. And, plants use carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. A real win win. PS: Be sure to give your plants enough water during the the summer (but don’t oversaturate them either).
8. Turn off and unplug unnecessary electronics.
Did you know that many computers, TVs, DVRs, stereos, etc. will radiate heat (120-140 degrees) even when they’re off and recharging. Same goes with cell phone chargers.
9. Tint your windows
Add a UV protection layer that will reduce the UV light (this is what produces the heat) or a filtering screen. Not only will this make your space cooler, but it will also protect your hardwood floors and furniture, not to mention your skin, your family and pets.
10. Change your incandescent lights to CFL or LED
These bulbs will emit less heat (and reduce your energy bills).
11. Check your insulation
It’s unbelievable how big a difference this can make on the comfort of your home and your energy bills. It will make it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. One of the biggest culprits is the attic, so check there first. Bonus: fixing any issues here will also reduce the chances of ice damming in the winter.
And here’s a handy and super inexpensive gadget to check the temperature in various spots of the walls, ceilings and attic. Or hire an inspector to do a full audit of your home.
13. Consider adding some bushes or shade trees
This can make some of the areas cooler and make your home more beautiful. But, be careful to avoid planting them to close to your home/foundation as this may cause future issues as the roots grow.
14. Be strategic with your doors and windows
Sometimes, opening the windows (especially if it’s breezy) helps cool things down. And, often opening 2 or more windows across the room will help even more (for good cross circulation). Consider opening doors to other cooler areas of the home for more cross circulation. Close doors in room that get hotter (especially rooms that are facing south and west).
15. Focus on reducing your body temperature
One of my favorite tricks is to cool your body with water. Not only does the water cool you down, but as it evaporates, it continues to cool you. Consider just splashing water on your face or using a small towel that you soak in cool water (or ice water).
This has the biggest impact when you can put the water or towel at the back of your neck and/or wrists as you have more heat sensors on your body there. Consider taking a cold or luke warm shower (or bath), jumping in a pool or even wearing a damp shirt. You can also keep a bowl of water near your bed if you wake up at night and are hot.
And, of course, properly hydrate. Drinks lots of water and cool drinks. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine as that can dehydrate you (and make you warmer).
16. Be smart about how you dress
Lighter fabrics and lighter colors help you feel cooler. Often looser fitting clothes help too (especially if there is a breeze or you’re using a fan).
17. Consider doubling up on fans
You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this makes. Play around with the positioning of the fans. Move them around throughout the day if you need to (so that the fan is in the shade rather than direct sunlight…which tends to move throughout the day.
It sometimes works better when you have one oscillating fan for circulation and one that’s stationary and blows cooler air straight on you. This one seems to work quite well. And, it’s quite affordable.
18. Use cotton sheets and bedding during the summer months
Flannel sheets and fleece blanks insulate, so they’re great for the winter, but a poor choice for the summer. Use cotton sheets (and thinner blankets) for the summer. Bonus: buy a buckwheat pillow. With the naturally occurring air spaces, it won’t hold onto your body heat like convention pillows do.
19. Buy a Chillow!
Yes, this is such a great invention…I think my 2nd favorite tip. As the name implies, it’s a chilly pillow. Check these out!
20. Make your bed cooler
While I’m on this topic, and I know that this will sound crazy, put your sheets in the freezer.
21. Use your grill and cook outside
Yes, using the oven and your stove adds to the heat inside. Somehow, when you grill, it often tastes better, too!
Those are my 21 tips to help keep your home cooler during the warm summer months. Let me know if you have any other tips to add.