Your air conditioning system is the most important piece of equipment to stay comfortable in the summer. Home cooling accounts for five percent of the energy we consume in the U.S. each year. That’s about 140 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. These are some ways you can fight the urge to crank up your A/C keep your home cool.
Staying Cool before Turning your AC On
Keep the shades drawn during the day. When the sun comes in through the windows, it creates a miniature greenhouse effect in your home. Consider investing in some reflective window film to keep the heat outside, where you want it. In the evening let the cool air in. If the temps are on the cooler side after the sun sets you can open a few windows a little to let the breeze come in to cool the house. Don’t forget to close them when it heats up again. Insulate by keeping the cool inside. Grab a caulk gun and seal any areas that air may be escaping. Use a ceiling fan in the summer to circulate the cool air. Make sure it’s running counter clockwise. In the winter they should be set to clockwise to push warm air down. Drink cool beverages to cool your body from the inside out. Wear loose-fitting, light clothing to keep cool. A towel soaked in cold water is a great way to cool down. Apply it to your neck, wrists, and forehead for some relief during the hottest part of the day. Avoid using your stove or oven as they will add unnecessary heat to your home. Use the BBQ or have a salad or sandwich instead. The heat can make it difficult to sleep. Try using a buckwheat pillow. Buckwheat doesn’t hold on to your body heat like conventional pillows. The afternoon is the hottest part of the day. Take some advice from your pets and take a nap.
Staying Cool When the A/C is Broken
If the hottest day of the year so far has arrived and your AC decides to break down on you, there are ways to keep cool until help arrives. The first step is to call a licensed a/c repairman to fix the problem. Then you should find out what the weather report is for the next couple of days. Make sure to stay well hydrated with water and fruit juice. Try to avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol as they are diuretics that remove moisture from your body. Escape to air conditioned buildings like the mall, a movie theater or a restaurant. Take a cool shower before bed as it can help relax you and fall asleep. During the day, your home absorbs infrared heat from the sun. At night, it releases this heat through radiational cooling. Opening your windows and running fans at night to blow allow a cross breeze in your home to help it cool off faster. Your home will have cooled during the night so get up early and close everything back up. Heat will build up in the upper floors of homes first, so keep infants and toddlers on the ground floor (or basement) to keep cool. Consider a dehumidifier, as drying the air inside your home will add comfort. Make sure you get one large enough to handle the largest room where your family spends most of their time.