Allow me to paint the picture–it’s late July and the grass is starting to look pale and crunchy. At 3 p.m. you glance outside, and the world is empty before you. It’s a whopping 100+ degrees and everyone knows it. They are hiding. You cower indoors while your house boils you alive. Panicking, you strip down to the acceptable bare minimum (in case the neighbors see), and you sweat and pant like a dog as you lie facedown on the cool kitchen tile, wondering why you ever complained about the snow.
Alright, so perhaps a bit dramatic, but the principle is there: no one likes being uncomfortably hot and miserable in their own home. With the heat of the summer swiftly approaching us and our homes, it is definitely worth a conversation about how we are going to stay cool while still avoiding bankruptcy. After all, running the A/C on high for a quarter of the year costs a pretty penny.
Below, we will explore the 10 best ways to keep yourself and others from sweating the summer away. These options apply to all of us whether or not we have A/C, because we can all save money and energy by following some of these easy steps. Here they are, courtesy of this list of brilliant ways to keep your home cool from Huffington Post, these 24 tricks to survive summer from Greatist.com, as well as my own experience dealing with the heat.
#1 Blinds and Windows
The view may be splendid, but the temperature increase is not. During the day, close your blinds to avoid sun rays heating up the room. At night, feel free to do the opposite. Typically, the world outside your house cools significantly during the dead of night. Open your windows wide during these quiet hours to allow cool breezes and fresh air to caress you while you sleep.
If you have been running the A/C during the day at all, turn it off and invite nature’s air conditioning into your home.
#2 You CAN Make a Fan Plan
Say that five times fast and try not to accidentally say flan pan. Fans are the best. Yes, they do still use power but an extremely low amount, especially compared to an A/C. Also, do not get too close to the back of it if you have long hair. Trust me. Gather big fans, small fans, round fans and square fans because you will want one in every occupied room of your house.
If you are especially passionate about fans, take your dedication to the next level. Position some ice (or something icy cold) in front of the fan to allow the air to hit it and get nice and frosty before it hits your sweaty face. Or, stick the fan on a windowsill against an open window to push out the hot air. You can even keep your bathroom fans on to suck up hot air.
#3 Let’s Talk Sheets
There are several clever ideas to cool yourself or your house down using sheets. One involves wetting a sheet and then hanging it over an open window to create a natural cool breeze as the hot air hits it from outside. DEFINITELY use cotton sheets in your bed when it is hot, as they are a much more breathable fabric.
If you want a burst of delicious cool when you climb into bed, stuff your sheets into a bag and stick them in your freezer for a few minutes. It will feel fantastic for only a short while, but most good things come to an end anyway, right?
#4 Sleep Soundly, Not Sticky
You don’t have to be sleeping to have nightmares. All you have to do is try to fall asleep in extreme heat. It’s a total nightmare. There are effective means of avoiding it though. Start by either sleeping alone or keeping a safe distance from your bedmate because body heat is not the answer. Sleep without covers or at most a cotton sheet. Keep a bowl of cold water by your bed and dip your feet periodically if you wake up through the night.
You can also spray your sheets with cold water. Spread out like a star, and make sure you have air flow on you–whether it’s a fan or a window. Don’t mind the laughter when a friend or family member walks in to find you sprawled out like you’re making a sheet angel. We’ll see who’s laughing in the end.
#5 Clothes…Who Needs ‘Em?
To each their own on this one. I’ll just say this: less is best for more rest, unless (I guess) you find yourself crossing your own or others’ personal boundaries. It’s kind of self-explanatory, but the more clothes you wear, the more heat you’ll trap close to your skin. Definitely don’t wear socks to bed! Unless you LIKE sweaty feet…
#6 How Low Can You Go?
Heat rises, and if you’ve ever slept in a basement during the hot months of summer, you know that it makes a huge difference. Even if it means saying, “Sorry honey, I just can’t take it anymore…the summer has gone too far,” and retreating downstairs to the couch or to a cot in the basement, it might be worth it for a good night’s sleep.
#7 Know Your Cooling Points
A fun fact about the body is where you can place ice/cold packs to cool yourself down extra fast. These include the pulse areas of your wrist, neck, back of the knee, ankle, and groin (maybe be aware of who’s watching with that last one). As mentioned before, the feet are also great to keep cool. To tackle all at once, go ahead and jump into a cold shower! It feels amazing. And it will make you smell better.
#8 Drink Water
This is nothing new, considering we are always supposed to stay hydrated. However, during a time when the body is producing much more perspiration, it is crucial to stay hydrated so as not to feel the nasty effects of dehydration on top of the nasty effects of smelly sweat. WARNING: it is important to drink before bed, but be cautious and know your body. Nothing interrupts sleep quite like seven trips to the bathroom.
#9 Step Away From the Oven
Ready for dinner? Great! Take it outside. Using the oven, stove, or even a little toaster can affect the temperature in your house. Investing in a grill might not be a bad idea, especially considering how much more delicious everything will taste. Or enjoy some cold meals like fruits and salads. Maybe a smoothie? Yum.
#10 Reach for the Stars
It’s amazing to be sweltering inside, and then discover upon opening the door that it is actually a pleasant temperature outside. Your house will take longer to cool off than outside will, which means it isn’t a bad idea to step outside at night. Try sleeping under the stars in a nice hammock. Investing in trees and other plants that offer shade to your home and, by association, to you is also a clever way to keep your house cool. Not to mention how beautiful they look in your yard.
There are plenty of other options out there, but these seem to be some of the most popular and successful ways of going about it. Honestly, the best idea is to return to our childhoods and spend the summer days throwing water balloons at each other and splashing in blow-up pools in the backyard. Then we can settle down with our rocket ship popsicles, and feel quite at ease. Unfortunately, not all of us can do this, but it’s nice to dream isn’t it?
For those who are ready to successfully battle the heat this summer, it would not hurt to look around the house as you’re making these preparations to see if you have any unused space lying around.
You have a lovely neighbor somewhere in need of storage space this summer, and maybe some of their items are heat sensitive, which would make that cool corner of your basement the perfect place. Don’t worry, they’ll pay you. And you can use all the money you make to buy some cotton sheets, more fans, or a bigger refrigerator that fits you and a good book inside! The options are endless.