If the relentless heat of summer is getting you down, don’t despair. Fall is just around the corner. In the meantime, here are my top ways to beat the high cost of keeping cool.
Create a through-breeze. An effective way to get to sleep when it’s really hot is to create a “through-breeze” using two box fans. Place one fan in the window so that it is either pulling cooler air in or pushing hot air out of the room, with the second fan placed on the opposite side of the room. A “through-breeze” in your room will definitely make it easier to sleep.
Don’t check. The European Journal of Applied Physiology conducted an extensive controlled trial that turned up some amazing results: Only those people in the study who knew the actual temperature suffered from heat fatigue. The study concluded that if you don’t know how hot it is, you will actually do better and feel more comfortable. So stop checking to see how hot it is.
Cool off the car fast. You know that feeling of sliding into a hot oven! To cool your car quickly, perform this quick Japanese door trick: Roll down one window and then open and close the opposite door four or five times quickly. This cools down a hot car almost instantly by drawing the hot air out through the door, forcing cooler air in through the window.
Use ceiling fans. Fans can make you feel 3 to 8 degrees cooler, according to Michael Bluejay, aka Mr. Electricity. Fans put the wind-chill factor to work for you, cost as little as $40 at home improvement stores and usually cost less than a penny an hour to run. In the summer, make sure your ceiling fan is blowing down to send air past your body, removing the hot air that surrounds you. Most ceiling fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Stand under and test the direction to make sure you have it spinning the right direction for the season.
Take a shower. A quick, cool shower can keep you cool for quite a while. And the water cost is trivial compared to the cost of electricity to keep your air conditioning running.
Install a programmable thermostat. Set your thermostat (or timer for a window unit) to turn off when you leave for the day and to turn back on a half-hour before you get home. This does not use more electricity than having the air conditioner constantly maintain a cool temperature; it uses less.
You can find programmable thermostats like the Lux Products TX1500E Smart Temp Programmable Thermostat for less than $40. Plug-in timers like the GE 15153 Heavy Duty 24-Hour Mechanical Timer run less than $10 online or at home improvement stores. Programmable thermostats come with installation instructions, or it’s a quick job for an electrician to install. Plug-in timers for window units start out at $5.
Are you beating the summer heat? Let’s discuss in the comments.
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