It may be because of the weather, or the location you're currently living in – with hot temps comes a steady reliance on air conditioning. Not only is this expensive, but it’s also an unnatural way to regulate your home’s temperature.
So, this summer, do things a little bit differently and try keeping your home cool in the most natural way(s) possible. Every family’s needs are different, and every property’s capabilities will vary depending on position, age and structure. Here are six tried-and-true ways to keep a space at a refreshing temperature — no air-con required.
1. Start with a fan.
It might just go without saying, but fans are an effective way to create a breeze inside your home without the use of air-conditioning. Ceiling fans work because they keep the air inside of your home moving: stagnant air gets heated faster, so keep air flowing with either a portable unit or ceiling fan.
Surprisingly, you can make your fan work even harder for you. If you fill a bag with ice and attach that bag to the rear of your tabletop fan, you’ll get even cooler air. The device pulls in air from behind its blades, and the container of ice will cool the air as it pushes it through.
You can also make use of other ventilation tricks, like the exhaust fans already installed in your home to keep temperatures low. After a hot shower or while cooking a meal, turn on your exhaust fans to get that heat out of your home ASAP.
2. Keep blinds closed.
When it’s sunny, our first instinct is to throw back the curtains, pull open the blinds and let the sunshine flood in. However, with the sun's rays comes additional heat that you’ll have to stave off with air-conditioning, so you’ll have to go against your instinct to let in natural light to keep your home cool. In fact, keeping your blinds and curtains drawn throughout the day is one of the most budget-friendly ways to cool your home.
Check out five reasons to install external blinds.
3. Plants & trees.
The work you do outside of your home can make the inside of your space feel exponentially cooler. Nowhere is this truer than in abodes surrounded by trees. For some builders, the instinct may be to chop down trees to make space for a structure and reduce interruption with foundations— and to show the resulting design off to passersby. But keeping tree cover means your home will sit in the shade, which we all know is the freshest place to be in the scorching summer sun.
If your home is already surrounded by foliage, do your best to preserve what's there. There's still hope for properties built in lots without high-growing trees: planting a fast-growing variety of tree will have you relaxing in the shade in no time.
There are also several house plants worth investing in that absorb warm air and release oxygen and cooling moisture into your home’s air. Some of the best candidates include aloe vera, mother-in-law's tongue, peace lily and Boston ferns.
Take a look at our list of the best hard to kill houseplants.
4. Add an awning or extend your eaves.
Again, you can tackle the heat by building outdoor barriers. Installing awnings over your windows is another way to create shade and keep hot, sun rays from entering your home and spiking the temperature. Of course, they might be a bit of an investment, especially depending on the number of windows you have. But you’ll save — and stay cool — for years to come, so the cost will be worth it over time.
Another construction project would come with extended eaves, which are the edges of your roof. If they’re stretched out further, less sunlight will reach your home’s exterior, keeping the whole thing cooler. You can even extend the eaves to create a shaded porch perfect for summer sitting, too.
5. Swap your sheets.
In winter, you probably wanted to surround yourself in soft, thick linens. You covered your beds in thick blankets, flannel sheets and comforters full of down to keep you warm and snug. Now, though, this type of insulation will only make you sweat — and reach to turn on that air-conditioning unit.
So, start your summer off by swapping the wintertime linens you love for their lighter summertime counterparts. Most people go for cotton options because they’re thinner and much more breathable. And, as a bonus, you’ll get the chance to give your room a breath of fresh décor that’s perfect for summer.
6. Grab a cold one.
Even without air-conditioning, you’ll still have your refrigerator and freezer running to keep things cool, and you can use this appliance to your advantage. For starters, keep a jug of water in your fridge so that it’s as cold as possible whenever you’re in need of a sip — it’ll be much colder than what your tap produces.
If you’re feeling even more creative, fill your freezer with all-natural homemade popsicles that’ll help cool you down — and fill you up. You can even chill or freeze water bottles to bring to bed, similarly as you would in winter with a hot water bottle. Keeping a cold bottle at your feet will help you chill out, literally and figuratively, even on summer’s hottest nights.
Stay cool the natural way
With these tips in mind, you can forego your dependence on the air-conditioner in favour of methods that are more natural for you and your family. Trust us, your electricity bill with thank you for it. And, with that, you'll experience summer in the carefree way in which it's meant to be enjoyed.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine.
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