Not to complain or anything, but this temperature inversion has caused us here in Seattle to have an extra cool summer. In fact, the statistic running around is that we've experienced only 78 minutes of temperatures above 80 degrees so far this summer.
I couldn't imagine how miserable 100+ temperatures must be so I'm not going to lecture anyone on air conditioner usage. Because when I'm hot and uncomfortable, my brains tend to go squishy and I couldn't give a rip about energy usage and CO2 emissions. I feel really claustrophobic when I'm hot and tend to get panicky.
Anyway, in order to help out just a tad, here are my hints and tips for keeping cool this summer while either forgoing air-conditioning (ha, ha, ha!) or pushing up the thermostat a little at a time.
Home Cooling Tips
- Open windows at night and/or in the early morning and shut them once the outside temperature rises above the inside temps
- Close the drapes or blinds on the side of the house where the sun in shining in. So that means the East side of the house in the morning and the West side in the afternoon and evening. Consider purchasing insulated window curtains (these will also help hold heat in during the winter) or install inexpensive heat-reflecting film on windows that face the sun
- Turn off lights, electronics or appliances that you aren't using and generate heat
- Fans, fans, fans
- Put in a window fan and blow the air out of the room while keeping the doors to the room open
- Recreate your own air-conditioner by blowing a fan across a bowl of ice. This will simulate the same sort of cool air but without the energy involved
- Longer term home solutions include better attic/roof venting, getting a lighter colored roof or planting shade trees
- Drink ice water (or sit on a huge block of ice)
- Stay hydrated and avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy, high-fat meals. All of these will increase your internal body temperature
- Stay in the shade and out of direct sunlight
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored and lightweight clothes
- Do like they do in the tropics and eat spicy food. This stimulates sweat and, therefore, will cool you off
- Soak your feet in cool water or even throw in a few ice cubes
- Soak a rag or tea towel in ice water and wrap around your neck
- Sit outside in the evening to enjoy the cooling temperatures
- Take a cool (not cold) shower before bed. Why cool and not cold? Well, if you lower your body temperature too much you'll exert extra energy (aka heat) trying to warm up
- Soak a t-shirt in ice water and wear to bed or wet your hair before bed
- Dig out that rice bag you made last winter and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before bed
- Use linen sheets as they stay cooler than other fabrics
- Put your pillowcase (or sheets!) in the freezer a few hours before bed
- Sleep downstairs or outside if you can
What are your favorite methods of keeping cool when the temperature rises? Which ones did I miss?