In the South, during the 18th century, the common cure for humidity was a mint julep. However, no more are the days of drinking hard liquor in the afternoon. And although you can always crank up the A/C, you’ll be just as sure to crank up the electricity bill, too. Air conditioners use about six percent of all the electricity produced in the United States, costing $29 billion to homeowners annually. So what are the other options, you ask? Keep reading to find out some cool tricks to beat the heat this summer:
Check the Windows
When sunlight pours into the home, what results is an environment comparable to a greenhouse. You can effectively lower temperatures in your home by up to 20 degrees simply by lowering blinds and closing curtains of windows in unoccupied rooms. You can also replace your existing windows with low-emissivity glass or apply a reflective window film to keep your home cooler.
By increasing air movement via ceiling fan, you increase the amount of evaporation from your skin, thus cooling off naturally. What’s more, this allows you to rely less on your air conditioner during the day, which could save you up to 30 percent on your next energy bill. Be sure to have a ceiling fan installed in each room and keep inside doors open to allow air circulation throughout the home.
Efficient Air Conditioning
Set reminders to change your air filters every four to six weeks; a congested air filter not only effects the air quality of the home, but also disrupts the airflow. When you’re buying new filters, it’s a good idea to buy more than you immediately need, so that you have enough on hand later. You may also want to invest in a more energy efficient air conditioner. Every A/C unit has a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating located at the top of the unit’s manufacturer label. Use the calculator here to decide which SEER rating is best for your new A/C unit.
Cooking and Eating
Be mindful of what you put in your body – eating a hot pot roast isn’t going to help you cool down. Fill your diet with things best served cold, such as salads or sandwiches, and be sure to drink plenty of cold fluids. Grilling – as opposed to roasting or sautéing – is the best route to go if you want to keep the temperature in your home from rising.
Bed Sheets and Cold Towels
Keep a supply of hand towels in your refrigerator for a little self-pampering; dabbing your neck and forehead with a cold towel will help you forget about the high temperature outside. You’ll also want to change your bed sheets if you’re still sleeping underneath flannel or fleece blankets. Cotton sheets breathe easier and stay cooler at night while you sleep. That goes for pillows, too – here is a list of this year’s best cooling pillows.
Humidity is just one of those unavoidable things we southerners have to deal with. So don’t lock yourself away in front of the air conditioner all summer! Enjoy yourself, and keep cool with these simple tips.