Summer in the Miami Valley can be a challenge. Cool mornings quickly heat up to scorching days, and we won’t even get into the discussion of how high the humidity can rise, which adds even more heat to your ‘hot.’
Many people resist the urge to turn on their air conditioners unless absolutely necessary. Air conditioner-spiked electric bills are no joke! Of course, there are also still homes that have no air conditioner at all.
Whether you don’t have an air conditioner or are simply trying to fight a high electric bill, here are some ways to combat the summer heat:
1. Fans, fans and more fans. Invest in a whole-house fan, ceiling fan, or box and floor fans. While fans are made for circulating air, they can help create a cross breeze when used properly. Point box fans out the window to push hot air out. Use another fan elsewhere in your home to pull cool air in. Together they create a cross wind. Set fans up in windows and hallways to produce the best breezes.
2. Go light. Choose cotton and light colors when it comes to sheets and blankets. Also, pick loose-fitting and light-colored clothes or pajamas to sleep in.
3. Cool your head. Having the right pillow is also important for staying cool at night. Your head is usually the warmest part of your body, so don’t use a pillow that envelopes your head. Choose one that is smaller and firmer. It may also be worth looking into a pillow or gel mat that has cooling properties.
4. Make use of the freezer. Place your sheets in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for a few minutes before bedtime to cool your bed or sleeping area.
5. Keep cooking on the stove to a minimum. Stay away from casseroles or baking. Grill outdoors or opt for simpler foods that don’t require a lot of preparation on the stove. Eat more salads and other light foods.
6. Ice it down. Find out where your body’s pressure (pulse) points are and apply ice packs or cold washcloths to cool your body. To bring your body temperature down, also try drinking cold water before bedtime or taking a cold shower.
7. Hot water bottles can be used as an ice pack if you stick them in the freezer. Once frozen, keep it in bed, near your feet. For most people, the feet determine your body’s temperature because there are more pulse points in your feet and ankles.
8. Add a little H2O. Dampen a sheet or towel in cool water, then cover yourself with it. Place dry towels between the sheets and the mattress so water doesn’t damage the mattress. Cool a room down by hanging a wet sheet in front of the window.
9. Put together a makeshift cooling unit by filling a shallow pan or bowl with ice, then place it in front of a fan. The breeze picks up cold water from the melting ice and creates a cooling mist.
10. Find a low point in your home and abandon your bed. Sleeping on the lowest level of your home or in the basement, if you have one, is always best. These areas are usually the cooler places in the home. If you don’t have a basement, try sleeping in a cot or a hammock to increase air flow around your body.
11. Live in the dark. Keep lights off, as they give off additional heat. Also, keep curtains or shades drawn to keep the hot rays of the sun out of your home. Purchase heat-blocking curtains. Disconnect electronics, most give off a lot of heat.
12. Plant more trees around your home for shade. This is more of a long-range solution, but if you plan to stay in your home, the extra shade will pay for itself in the future.