In keeping with our summer tradition, my family recently spent a week vacationing in Michigan. We rented a house up there. It was a great place, except for one thing.
When we went to crank down the air conditioning, there was none. That’s right, no AC. And it was hot. Georgia-style H-O-T.
As an Atlanta resident, I’m used to blasting the air conditioner from, oh, late May to mid-October. If my wife would let me, I’d keep that thing on 65 degrees all day and night. But that wasn’t an option during our trip, so we had to get creative.
Here are some tricks (some of which we used during our vacation) to make your house cooler. After all, the less you have to run the AC during the summer months, the happier you’ll be when it comes time to pay the electric bill.
1. Circulate the Air Inside – Opening the windows can be a nice way to cool off your home in the early morning or during the evening; doing so introduces cooler air into the house to reduce the internal temperature. Kick up some airflow to make it even cooler inside using standing, box or ceiling fans. Just make sure to close the windows once the heat outside begins to set in.
2. Keep the Sun from Beating in Through the Windows – The less summer sun that reaches your windows, the cooler your house will be. Consider adding shutters to the windows on your home that take the biggest beating from the afternoon sun or put in some additional awnings or trees to give those areas more shade.
3. Use Shades, Curtains, and Blinds – Add another layer of protection to your windows by using treatments that minimize the amount of sun that passes through. Don’t want to be left in the dark? Sheer curtains are a great way to block the sun while letting in some daylight. The same is true for bamboo blinds, which are a less expensive option that still gets the job done.
4. Summer-ize the Bedding – Opt for light linen or cotton sheets instead of synthetic fabrics, which don’t breathe enough to let go of the evening heat. Another trick my grandmother used to do is to sprinkle some baby powder on your sheets. It absorbs sweat while you’re sleeping and keeps sheets feeling oh so fresh and clean.
5. Drink a Tall Glass of Water – Drinking water is not only important in keeping us hydrated, but it’s also one way that our bodies regulate their temperature. If you’re feeling the summer heat, do your body good and drink a long chug of cold water.
6. Salads Again, Anyone? – Stay away from appliances that generate heat. (I’m looking at you, stove.) Try not to use things during the hottest part of the day that give off hot air, like your clothes dryer and oven – especially the oven. During the hottest months, the heat an oven generates can make it feel like you have a small nuclear reactor in your home.
So, there we have it. Try these tricks and see if you can’t keep your home cooler without cranking the air conditioner. As for me, I’ve learned a lesson. The next time we go anywhere for vacation, the first question I ask won’t be “Is there Wi-Fi?” Instead, I’ll say, “Please tell me there’s AC.”