You want to be comfortable, but giving your A/C a break can be good for your budget. Not only can it decrease your monthly energy bill, but you might help prevent costly repair or replacement fees by not overworking your HVAC system. Of course, turning off your air conditioning once in a while is also good for the environment.
Without your A/C blasting, how will you beat the heat? Here are a few suggestions for green ways to stay cool this summer. It’s important, however, to exercise caution when implementing any of these tips — especially if you have children, seniors or pets in your home. Avoid getting overheated, and if it gets too hot, turn your cooling system back on!
Skip the Stove
One of the biggest sources of heat in a home can be our stove. You definitely want to avoid baking on the warmest days, and a stove top covered in boiling pots isn’t much better. So what will you eat?
This is a great time to use alternative methods for preparing meals. Consider having sandwiches, for example, along with fruits and salads. You can also use your microwave, slow cooker, or backyard grill without generating much heat. If all else fails, grab some takeout!
The last thing you want to do on a hot summer day is bundle up in your darkest, heaviest clothing. Leave the wooly socks and sweatshirts in the drawer, and definitely avoid your fleece robe and blankets!
Instead, choose clothing that is light in color and made of a light, breathable fabric. When you turn in for the night, if you’re comfortable, you could shed all of your clothing entirely!
Sleep on the Floor
We’ve all heard that heat rises, which is exactly why you might want to sleep on the floor during the summer. It might seem strange, but once you’re down there, it might bring back memories of childhood sleepovers!
Use light sheets instead of full bedding, have the ceiling fan going, and camp out. You don’t have to sleep on the hard ground, of course. You can put your mattress down, or create padding with a comforter or duvet.
Use Cold Packs
It might seem old-school, but creating “cold packs” can be an effective way to deal with the heat this summer. You won’t want to use a solid, commercial ice pack, of course, since you can damage your skin with prolonged, direct contact.
A better option is to dampen washcloths with cold water and then apply them to areas such as your forehead, back of your neck, armpits, and behind the knees. For added cooling, freeze the washcloths or soak them in icy water.
When the weather gets hot, we sweat, and when we sweat, we risk becoming dehydrated. Your body needs fluids in order to perform all of the internal processes that are vital to preventing overheating.
Always have a bottle filled with water by your side, and make a conscious effort to sip throughout the day. Hate water? You could add some lemon slices or lime to give it some flavor. Another trick is to eat hydrating foods such as watermelon, grapes and popsicles.
Ice Cubes and a Fan
If you’ve never done this, it will sound pretty silly but it works! A low tech, green way to keep cool this summer might be as simple as putting a bucket of ice in front of a fan. The air will blow right over the ice and distribute the coolness throughout the room.
This could be a fun experiment to do with kids, but make safety a priority. Once the ice starts to melt, remove and/or replace it to avoid spilling onto the fan. Of course, try to find child-safe fans and watch little fingers around the blades.
Turn the Lights Down
You may not realize it, but having the lights on generates heat. You don’t have to go back to the dark ages, but making a conscious effort to turn off any unnecessary lighting can cool down your home and cut down on energy costs.
It’s not just overhead lighting, either. You’ll always want to shut down your computer and television when they’re no longer in use. Our devices have become more efficient over the years, but they still emit heat, which can contribute to the overall warmth in your home.
Cover the Windows
Looking out at blue skies can give us a boost, but you may not want to have your window coverings pulled back all day long. When windows are exposed, they allow all of the sun’s light and heat to pass through.
As a result, the temperature inside your home will continue to rise. Some people invest in light-blocking curtains and blinds to help keep things cool in the summer, but regular window coverings can also be quite effective.
Create a Breeze
When you’ve got your air conditioning on, one of the most important things is to keep the windows closed to prevent cooled air from escaping. When you turn your A/C unit off, it might feel good to do the opposite.
Opening windows in different parts of the house, as well as a screen door, can create a nice cross breeze. You’ll want to avoid this, however, when outdoor allergens are high, if there is heavy construction nearby, or on hot windless days.
Pick Cool Days
If you’re going to try to turn off your air conditioning in favor of using green ways to stay cool this summer, you won’t want to do it on the hottest, muggiest day. You’ll end up miserable and you might end up using more energy just to cool your home back down!
Pick milder, cooler days when using your cooling system would almost be unnecessary. That way, you’ll still be comfortable while your HVAC unit (and wallet) get a much-needed break!
We’re Here to Help
Want to know more ways to use your heating and cooling system more efficiently this summer? Our NATE-certified technicians are on-hand to help! We’ve been proudly serving the Greater Richmond Region for more than 75 years, and we’d be honored to have you as a customer. Call today for a free consultation!