14 Eco-Friendly Ways to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer
Summer; longer days, the beach, fresh fruit, hot days…and really, really hot days. Australia’s warm season can go from delightful to atrocious very quickly, especially when temperatures reach 43 degrees and your house has no air-con. And even if it does, the amount of energy AC uses jacks up the electricity bill like crazy.
So, how do you sleep? How do you sit on your couch without feeling sweat drops coming off your elbows? How do you survive through the summer without air-con? Keep reading to discover 14 tips to help you prepare to stay cool naturally.
1. Install retractable fly screens and open those windows
Flyscreens are your friends. Opening several windows of the house to create a cool flow of air is a must during hot days. The trick is to try to open a low or large size window and then a high-positioned one, located in front of the other window, so it creates a cross-ventilation that cools the room. Retractable and fixed flyscreens do help a lot when it comes to keeping mosquitoes and bugs at bay, especially in summer, when the number of these pests increases due to the warmer weather.
2. Use (and adjust) your ceiling fans
Most people don’t realise, but you can actually adjust your ceiling fan. These amazing energy-saving devices have two modes: spinning clockwise and counterclockwise. With a simple flick of a switch, you can make the fan spin counterclockwise; this will bring all the hot air upwards and pull it away from the floor, while circulating the air. This will make your home feel a few degrees cooler.
3. Point fans towards the windows
It’s all about the positioning. Use box fans pointing out the open windows; this will make the fans push all the hot air in the room out, and the temperatures inside the house will drop. The more fans you’ve got pointing out windows, the best!
4. Create ice packs
Check the weather in advance so you can plan accordingly and have some ice packs ready for particularly hot days. Ice packs can come in different styles and forms, it’s up to you to decide which one suits you better. Hot water bottles are one option: simply fill it with cold water and stick it in the freezer.
Another way you can create an icepack is with grains, such as rice or legumes. Fill a sock or pillowcases with these grains, stick them in the freezer for about an hour and voila! Ice packs ready for you to cool off your bed before sleep time.
You can also make an ice pack with one part of rubbing alcohol with three parts water and pour the mix into a resalable plastic bag and keep it in the freezer. The result will be a flexible frozen ice pack, perfect for using on your body.
Remember, when trying to cool off your body, focus on the pulse points, which are the body parts in which blood runs close to the surface, such as neck, wrists or feet.
5. Choose cotton
Choose cotton when it comes to sheets and pj’s for hot summer nights, as it’s a breathable material that’ll allow airflow to come through. Polyester and other synthetic fabrics won’t allow the heat to circulate.
Sleeping naked is a big no-no, as sweat stays on the body instead of being swept away by the fabric.
When it comes to colours, if you’re going outside and walking under the sun, choose lighter-coloured clothing, as darker ones absorb heat.
6. Cook outside
While summer is perfect for lighter-eating and cold dishes like salads and fruits (foods that are easy to metabolise and don’t heat up your body as much, by the way), if you need your warm, meaty food fix, we recommend to avoid cooking in the house and go outside for a barbecue. Even if you have a great exhaustion fan, cooking inside the house will bring temperatures up massively.
7. Run appliances at night
Electronic appliances and lightbulbs give off heat. In the case of electronic appliances (dryer, TV, computers, phones and others) even when the devices are off, it is possible for them to heat up. Charge them at night and away from your bedroom. And when it comes to lighting, make the most out of daylight savings and avoid turning the lights on early during the day.
8. Grow strategic houseplants
There are certain houseplants that you can grow especially for those hot summer days that’ll keep your home cool as a cucumber. English ivy, palms, spider plants, Ficus, Pothos and peppermint will absorb the heat and drop temperatures while also purifying the air thus improving your sleep. Plus, peppermint is one of the most resistant herbs and easiest to grow around, so no excuses! You can even take some leaves off it, chew them, and feel the organic, minty oil freshness taking over your body heat.
9. Make a DIY air-con
You can make a DIY air-con by positioning a bowl full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze coming off the fan will pick up the cold water from the ice cubes as they melt, and the cooling mist will be projected towards your desired location.
10. Drink tons of water
Remember, sweating is liquid you loose from your body, so if you seem to be doing that a lot during hot days, keep your body hydrated. Drink lots of water, especially before going to bed.
11. Sleep alone
Sorry to everyone who loves spooning and cuddling in bed, but on a hot night, you may want to stay clear of too much affection. Cuddling with a partner increases body heat and sweating. Leave it for winter!
12. Cool off old-school
Cold showers are probably something nobody wants to experience, but when the temperatures border 35 degrees, they are like a gift from above. 5 minute cold showers will bring down your body temperature and rinse all the sweat off, so you can feel fresh, awake and brand new again. Make sure you target your pulse points while showering, where your blood runs closer to the skin.
13. Get low
Because hot air goes up, you gotta go low. Try to stay as close to the ground as possible, maybe get some bean bags and sit on the floor or set your bed as closer to the ground as possible. If you live in a two story house, choose to hang out on the ground level.
14. Keep your feet cool
Feet are quite sensitive to temperature, as they are filled with pulse points. Cool down your whole body by soaking your feeling in cold, clean water. You can even massage them for an all-round great experience! Adding minty essential oils can also help with the freshness.
Summer can get tough, especially in sunny Australia. However, we hope that putting all these tips into practice will help you survive the warmer months in a more natural, eco-friendly way and without breaking the bank to pay for electrical bills.