So how are you coping with this ridiculous heat wave we are having? This weather kind of prompted my topic for today. I personally don’t like to have the air conditioning going all day long. But right now, with the humidity so high, keeping cool is a priority, so here are some things you should know about cooling your home, including how to do it on the cheap.
Air conditioning is the most expensive way of cooling your home. Costly in both energy use and equipment, air conditioners use roughly 6 percent of all the electricity produced in the country. That comes to an annual cost to homeowners of about $29 billion. It therefore makes sense to take a look at your own cooling choices and select one that suits your needs and your budget best.
Ventilation is also key to keeping your home cool and your energy bills down. Start by setting the temperature on your air conditioner as high as you possibly can and still be comfortable. The closer that temperature is to the outdoor temps, the less your unit has to work. Try using window fans, ceiling fans, and attic fans to circulate air. Moving air is cooler air. Open your windows, especially in the evening, to allow fresh, cooler air inside. Strategically placed fans, along with an attic fan, can help draw cooler air up from the basement to make upper levels more comfortable.
Your air conditioning unit can’t work efficiently if it isn’t maintained properly. Check and change filters at least once a month and remove any dust, hair, or lint you find. Keep the coils of your air conditioner clean and brush away any debris and on the inside coils, use the soft brush attachment of your vacuum to remove any dust or debris as well. If you have a large HVAC system, schedule an annual maintenance call.
Now, not all of us are blessed with air conditioning units and for those who are not – here are a couple of quick lifehacks:
1. Hang out in your basement - its the coolest part of your home. But if that’s not an option, read on ….
2. Make your own air conditioner by taking a simple desk or standing fan with a shallow bowl full of ice in front of it. As the fan blows and the ice melts, you will get a fine mist of cool water in the air that will help keep you cool.
3. Make good use of your fridge/freezer. Chill items of clothing, bed sheets, pillow cases etc (always placing them in plastic of course, you want them chilled not wet). This method might not keep you cool indefinitely, but it will give you a perfect relief from the heat, whether its clothing you put on after a shower or bedding to help you sleep.
4. The Egyptian method – soak a sheet or blanket large enough to cover you in cold water, then wring dry so its damp and cool but not wet. Then use it as your blanket. As the water evaporates, you get the benefit of staying cool but not wet too.
I know it’s a little cooler today, but I think the humidity is rising again towards the end of this week. We have waited so long for our summer to arrive; it would be nice to enjoy it without having to spend $100s of extra dollars keeping our homes and ourselves cool so think about the above.
If you have any alternative tips on how you keep cool, would love to hear them.