Summer, finally, is here. I'm lucky enough to have a week of vacation coming up, and I'm planning on heading back to my parent's place in the interior of BC to hang out for a few days. The wonderful thing is that the weather is supposed to be hot and sunny all week. The bad news is that living on the West Coast this spring has not yet prepared me for the heat. So here are 6 ways that you and I can keep cool this summer without having to deplete the emergency fund just to stay cool.
Cold Washcloth on the Back of Your Neck
If you spent too much time out in the sun, and find that you just can't cool off when you are back in the shade, wet a washcloth or dishtowel and hang it around your neck. Cooling off your neck can cool off your entire body, and the instant the cold fabric hits your neck your whole body will feel cooler. Whenever the cloth gets dry, just wet another one and repeat.
Install a Window Air Conditioning Unit
While it may seem like a big noisy air conditioning unit is both really expensive to purchase and run, the newer units are surprisingly energy efficient. First of all, determine which room you want to cool – there is no point in trying to cool down your entire house. Pick a room that is easier to keep cool, like a basement family room or the living room, and not the kitchen or an upstairs attic. Then, pick an air conditioning unit properly rated for the size of that room (smaller is better for energy costs). Depending on the size of the room, you are only looking at 200-400 dollars for an A/C unit that will last years. Install it, and run it when necessary to keep your room cool. Many users have reported that it has hardly changed their electricity bill, perhaps by only a few dollars a month.
Wear Wet Socks to Bed
Can't sleep? Just too hot? Get an old pair of socks, run them under some water and wring them out. Put your socks on and head back to bed. The water will evaporate, quickly cooling the blood flowing near the outside of your feet, allowing your body to expel heat faster than it can on its own. For additional cooling power, set up a fan to blow on your feet. The added air movement will help the socks keep your feet, and by extension, the rest of your body cold.
Set Up a Fan Relay
Depending on your house, you may be able to set up a series of fans to keep your place cool throughout the day. At night, when it is cool, open windows and have fans blowing into your home. If possible, arrange your fans to blow air in from one side of the house (the cooler side, whichever has more shade/breeze, etc), and out the other side. During the day, close your shades, and if you have a basement, blow the cooler air from down below upstairs and again, out of the house. A few fans creating a breeze can make a huge difference in the temperature of your home. Just remember that after a certain temperature, all you are doing is moving hot air around, so turn off the fans and find another solution for a few hours.
Cordon Off the Cooking
You can save yourself a lot of money cooking at home. Unfortunately, cooking produces a lot of heat – something that you really don't want to be next to in the middle of summer. So do your best to cook at home, but keep the heat out of the house. Your best bet, by far, is to take the heat outside. Set up your barbecue and let the heat join the rest outside. Or, simply make a meal that doesn't require cooking, like a salad. If you need to cook in the kitchen, consider throwing up a sheet on the entrances to the kitchen, as it might help block the heat in the kitchen. It might make the kitchen even hotter, but at least it will keep the rest of the house from warming up as well.
What cheap ways do you stay cool during the summer?