10 Ways To Keep Cool At Home Without Air Con
Because it's 36 degrees out but you don't want your electrical bill to shock you
Blame it on global warming, but it seems that our summers are getting longer and hotter. If your immediate reaction is to turn on the AC, you might want to consider these low- to no-energy-consumption ideas for cooling down at home:
Heat rises, so you’ll feel more presko if you plop your mattress or futon down on the floor. Want to take it one step further? Pop your sheets into a large, plastic bag and cool it inside your refrigerator a few hours before bedtime.
Install black-out curtains
During the summer months when daylight is fiercer, draw black-out curtains or sunshades on your east-facing windows during mid-mornings, and west-facing windows at late afternoon to decrease the amount of heat in your home. You can buy blackout curtain material on the cheap at Divisoria.
Go for CFL bulbs
Switch to CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) instead of the standard incandescent lamps, since the latter emits more heat. This switch will also save on electricity in the long run.
Make a color switch
Your home's color scheme could use a little tweaking for summer, but no need for a paint job—changing slipcovers, linen, and pillowcases will do. Go for cooler hues like light blues and greens, and pastels, too. Stay away from "hot and heavy" colors like red and dark maroon.
Keep it casual for parties
Don’t bring out the stuffy, formal china and tablecloths when entertaining at home. Update you table settings by bringing in casual glassware and adding woven placemats and accessories made out of natural materials like sinamay and dried grass. Try incorporating sunny colors as well. (Get summery, locally made table ware at these stores.)
Bring in some green
Hop to White Plains or your weekend market, and buy small indoor plants and scatter them around your home. Plants are known to naturally cool down a room, purify the air, and visually enhance the space.
Eat light, and fruity
Ditch the heavy, fatty meals (these may raise your body temperature) and eat lighter dishes. The hot months also mean that a lot of fruits will be in season, and take advantage of this, as fruits are mostly composed of water, and can help cool you down.
Hydrate as much as you can
Lowering your body temperature internally first can help keep you cool throughout the day. Hydrate frequently, and keep a pitcher of refreshing lemon water ready in the ref, for everyone to enjoy.
Assemble a summer survival kit
Prepare a basket or tray and fill it with hats, sunglasses, sunblock, insect repellant, fans, and refillable water bottles. Leave it by the door near the entrance of your lanai, or near your backyard so guests and family can "protect" themselves before heading out.
DIY a cooling spritz
Make a homemade cooling herbal spritz you can leave out on the terrace: Seed a cucumber and slice it finely, add to one cup of water. Let stand. Strain into spray bottles and keep these bottles in the ref until ready to use.
This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of Real Living magazine and was updated from this post.
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