Summer’s almost here! That means a lot of hot, sunny days are ahead. If you don't have central air or a very efficient AC system, you may be in for some long days. But don't worry. There are several ways to keep cool without using an AC system.
So, before you resort to your car for chilled relief, try these five house hacks.
Keep Blinds, Shades, and Curtains Closed
It’s surprising, but experts estimate that as much a 30% of unwanted heat comes from windows. So keeping them covered is your first line of defense against hot air invading your home. If you want to go one step further, you can invest in blackout curtains, which block sunlight entirely, creating a naturally insulating effect.
Close Off Unused Rooms and Areas
To keep your coolest air where you need it most, keep doors to unused and infrequently used rooms closed. You might even consider closing off upper floors if most of your daytime living is downstairs. Just make sure not to close off too many air vents. One or two may be fine, but no more. The air conditioning system relies on adequate airflow to operate properly. You can damage you’re A/Cs compressor if you restrict the airflow too much.
Summertime is Grilling Time
Cooking can really heat up your house, so concentrate your cooking outdoors. Minnesotans love their grills and some families get by with all their summer cooking done al fresco. Plan ahead and cook more than you need for a single meal. Freeze leftovers and reheat in a microwave for a quick, energy-efficient meal.
Turn on a dehumidifier
Since dry air is more comfortable than humid air, try turning on your dehumidifier and turning up your thermostat. Dry air at 76 or 78 degrees feels like humid air at 70 or 72 degrees. It's less expensive to operate a dehumidifier than a central A/C system.
We all know the value of strategically placed fans to help cool a room or even the whole house. But here are a couple of fan hacks you may not have known.
Rotate ceiling fans counter-clockwise to create a cooling airflow. Setting a higher fan speed can help, as well.
Create a faux sea breeze by filling a bowl with ice or an ice pack. Set the bowl in front of a large fan and adjust the angle so the airflow hits the ice. You'll be surprised how refreshing your "sea breeze" can be!
You'll keep coolest at night if you're sleeping on cotton sheets, which breathes well and helps keep you cooler.
Your pillow can help keep you "chill" at night. Some experts recommend using buckwheat pillows — not just for comfort but because they don't retain body heat as much as conventional pillows. Another option is a cooling pillow. There are many options on the market to choose from.
Keep your feet cool in bed by filling a hot water bottle and chilling it (fridge or freezer) before placing at the foot of your bed. Any ice pack will get the same results, although a hot water bottle will give you a larger surface area.
Look Into New AC Technologies
Even if you're not planning on installing a new or upgraded central air conditioning unit, this summer may be the perfect time to check out the newer technologies. Air conditioning options have come a long way in the last few years and you may be pleasantly surprised at the economical solutions that are available. Check out our 2018 AC reviews — you may just find the perfect solution for next summer.