Quick Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

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.

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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. Plug-in timers like the GE 15153 Heavy Duty 24-Hour Mechanical Timer. Programmable thermostats come with installation instructions, or it’s a quick job for an electrician to install.

Are you beating the summer heat? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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5 replies
  1. Jean from Calgary
    Jean from Calgary says:

    I cool off by filling my bathtub a few inches with the coldest possible water, and standing in it for a few minutes at a time. I can return to this several times per day. The effect is as refreshing as taking a dip in the lake or pool on a hot day, but quicker and more accessible. An added health benefit to this, apparently, is improved circulation.

  2. DryTexan
    DryTexan says:

    Keep a spray bottle filled with water near you and mist your exposed skin.As the water evaporates it pulls heat away from your body. No bottle handy? use a wet cloth or paper towel. If under a fan it will cool you even faster and better. Short hair cuts or pulling hair up off your neck makes a remarkable difference. Dont forget to mist the back of your neck or place a wet cloth or paper towel there.. Dont forget to keep drinking water to stay hydrated!

  3. darlene.eckleberry@yahoo.com
    [email protected] says:

    (This also works for those pesky hot flashes.) Fill a hot water bottle and place in the fridge. Take it to bed with you. You can wrap in a cloth if too cold at first, place it on your tummy, feet, neck, head. Of course in time it will cool to room temperature; so I keep a spare in the fridge just in case I need a refresher in the middle of the night.

  4. Charlie C
    Charlie C says:

    Growing up in the south we learned a few things about dealing with heat. Here are a couple: Drink very cold drinks. Fill the glass to the top with ice, then let the drink cool. Also, splashing cold tap water on the inside of your arm from your wrist and a few inches above several times will cool you more than you will believe. Do it several times an hour.


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