Let’s face it – air conditioning is expensive, and it uses a lot of electricity. And many times, we turn it on without giving it a second thought.
Even though we get some cool breezes here in the South Bay, there are “those days”.
Here are some energy-saving tips to help you keep cool this summer without using air conditioning,
1. Hold Off Turning It On
Many times, we turn on the AC as soon as it’s a little warm outside, or just because it’s a certain day of the year. But if you can hold off a bit, you’ll be surprised at how you will get used to the increasing heat of the season gradually. Without the “shock” of going from a cool house to a hot outside, your body will adjust itself to the hot temperatures.
2. Dress for the Occasion
Have you ever had a member of your family crank up the heat in the winter while wearing a tee shirt and shorts? You probably wanted to tell that person to put on a sweater and sweat pants! The same is true in the summer. If you’re wearing jeans and a tight shirt, even if they’re fairly thin material and short sleeves, you’re likely to be hotter than someone wearing a loose sun dress. This is because jeans and tight shirts cling to your skin and do not allow your sweat to evaporate. Wearing loose, thin clothing in light colors (dark colors absorb heat) helps keep you cool.
3. Fans – How Grandma Stayed Cool
Prior to electricity (which is most of human history!), people used various means to keep cool – usually it involved staying outdoors or taking a dip in the local body of water. So when the humble electric fan was invented, it must have been a boon for people who had no way to keep the air moving without fanning themselves. While fans do use electricity, they do not use nearly as much as a central air conditioning unit, and you only need to run a fan in the room(s) you are using.
Some fans are more effective than others. Fans that mount into windows can do an amazing job of cooling down a room, especially at night. During the day, you might want to take the fans out of the open windows when the air outside begins to heat up. This helps keep that cool night air in your house as long as possible.
4. Shade – Natural and Man-Made
Shade is an important aspect of keeping your home cool. There are several ways you can increase the shade around the outside of your house. You can plant fast-growing shade trees, such as poplar or mimosa. Or tall shrubs can also work, like butterfly bush. And foliage-dense, hanging plants on the inside of your windows will also help. In addition, installing awnings over windows and doors can help tremendously. Sources say that awnings can reduce the temperature in your house by up to 10 degrees.
A small mister with water can help keep you cool – spray as needed. You can give it a cooling kick by mixing half water and half rubbing alcohol, and adding a drop or two of peppermint essential oil. Also, a little baking soda mixed with water makes a very cooling spray. If your spray bottle is big enough, throw in some ice cubes.
There are all kinds of ways to keep cool without using air conditioning. And your energy bills should show it!