When it comes to battling summer heat, it helps to have a fully loaded bagful of tricks to help you stay cool. In addition to keeping your curtains drawn and replacing those heat throwing incandescent bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, here are a few more tips for staying cool without cranking up the air conditioner:
1. Pump up that basement air: Have you ever gone down to your basement in the summer and noticed a substantial difference between its temperature and that of the rest of your home? That cool air can be put to use by keeping the basement door open and placing a fan facing your living area at that doorway in order to pull that cool air upstairs. However, don’t do this if your home has mold or high radon levels.
2. Stay wet: For some temporary but delicious relief, after showering, stay damp (not drenched) and sit near a fan. Also, spritzing yourself with a spray bottle or, when the place and time is right, pouring water over your head helps cool you down as the evaporating water stimulates sweating — the body’s cool down mechanism.
3. Drink water: Your body’s losing a lot of water by sweating. Staying well hydrated helps keep everything functioning, including the body’s blood flow and its ability to continue to allow you to sweat and stay cool.
4. Limit appliance usage: In addition to keeping the oven off as much as possible, limit your use of other appliances and electronic devices that generate heat, such as TVs, dishwashers and computers, which can be put in hibernate or sleep mode when not in use.
5. Cotton bedding and PJs: While a hot, humid day can be oppressive, trying to go to sleep on a wickedly hot night can be pure misery. By using cotton sheets and wearing loose cotton pajamas, sweat will be able to evaporate instead of being trapped by fabrics that don’t “breathe.”