Staying Cool in a Heatwave

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It’s possible to keep your home cool without air conditioning practicing environmentally friendly principals to help keep everyone comfortable and save some money.

The most important thing one can do to keep a home cool without air conditioning is to keep as much sunlight out as possible and let cooler air in at night. During the day, keep windows, drapes, blinds, or shades closed, especially on the southern and western sections of your home. If you have a porch, you can put up large plastic or bamboo shades to cut down on sunlight.

Use white or light colored window dressings to reflect light. You can also apply reflective slicks to windows to further cut down on light. At night, leave cabinets open as well, as they will store heat.

Moving air is cooler air. At night, place fans in windows to bring more cool air in. Ceiling fans can also make a difference. In terms of cooling, even a one-mile-per-hour breeze will make you feel three to four degrees cooler. In terms of energy savings, if you run a ceiling fan full-blast for 12 hours, you will only spend about $10 a month in electricity. Ceiling fans have two settings, one to pull air up (for winter use), and the other to push air down. Make sure your ceiling fan is blowing down.

Another easy way to cool your home without air conditioning is to place a bowl of ice or a frozen milk jug in front of one or more fans.

It’s one thing to keep hot air and sunlight out; it’s another to identify the appliances in your home generating heat. If you aren’t at home during the day, it is easier to simply shut off as many electric appliances as possible. If you spend more of your day at home, try to use heat-generating appliances only during the coolest part of the day.

Keep electronics on a power strip is a quick way to power-down before leaving for the day.

Change incandescent bulbs for cooler fluorescent bulbs. Turn off lights when not in use.

Humidity makes a room hotter. Do laundry early or late in the day. Take showers or baths during the cooler times of day. If your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen have vents, use them. Invest in a dehumidifier if you live in a humid climate.