Summer seems to be coming up fast and the dog days are laying in wait right behind it. So before it gets to hot to think and all the fans are snatched up at the store, I’d like to highlight a few ideas that I have found work in my residence and of course if you have further ideas, don’t hesitate to speak up and comment below.

1> Smaller areas, smaller bills
I forget to do this occasionally; running to the thermostat to drop the temperature in the house a degree or two, when a fan would have done it faster and cheaper for the room I am going to be in most often. That is why it can be important to close doors in rooms that aren't being used regularly throughout the day, even the bathroom.

Ceiling fans can cool a home up to 8 degrees cooler in minutes and shave off up to 40% off your cooling bill. (Just make sure the blades are going the right direction by checking here). And if you are cooking in the kitchen, use a fan to direct the heat out a window and cool your home down quicker.

2> Look for leaks
Just like you do in the winter, or should have but it was to cold and so you don’t have to hear the howl of the wind through your home; don’t lose precious coldness to the outside as well. Replace the seal around the doors and windows; or just make sure they are shut when the air in the house is being cooled. As my Mom would say, "We aren’t air-conditioning the neighborhood, Shut the door!

3> Keep the heat out
Sun heats up your house extremely quickly, great for the winter but horrible for the summer.

A few years back I lived in a studio apartment just under 400 square feet, with no air-conditioning and the only two windows in the apartment faced east. During the winter, the sun was wonderful, but once summer rolled around I learned in one day that I needed a way to block out the sun. I once measured the temp in the studio at about 104 degrees one day!

That taught me to close the shades in the morning and keep them closed until the sun had a higher angle in the sky, then I would open the windows and try to get a breeze blowing into the room to help cool things down to something more manageable.

At the time I used cardboard and tinfoil to keep the sun out and that worked, but I felt like I was closed off from the world. Another option is to buy some bubble wrap and cover the windows but still see something outside.

4> Use the thermometer wisely
If you don't like the idea of opening the windows and chancing bugs getting in and instead want to keep your windows closed through most of the summer, make sure your thermostat is set at a decent temperature.

First, if you aren’t doing much, watching tv or sitting at the computer, your metabolic rate slows down almost to the equivalent of sleeping, because of this you should be able to have a pretty standard temperature for waking or sleeping. Your best bet is to try and live in a temperature that is as evenly matched to the outdoors as possible. The reason being that the air kicks on less and you are then prepared for the great outdoors a bit more and don’t collapse into a puddle on your front step.

If you are cold in the house, move around more or bump up the thermostat a degree or two as you may have it set to low. Of course having a digital thermostat that has an auto setting is always a nice invention; I've just never lived in a home that had one so I've gotten pretty good at setting it and leaving as high as I can stand.

5> Other little ways - In the past I have:
* Worn a wet t-shirt around the studio to keep cool (this is with the curtains closed of course)
* Worn a wet towel around my shoulders and neck
* Stuck a bowl of ice in front of a fan
* Gone to the mall or library to just have a few moments of air-conditioning
* Drank lots of water to keep my body temperature down

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous // Monday, May 25, 2009 5:45:00 PM  

    The dollar cinema is also a great option!

  2. Dawn C // Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:02:00 AM  

    @Anon,
    Excellent addition - wish we had one near me.