When a heat wave rolls through, it can be very tempting to turn the air conditioning up full-blast and stick your head in the open freezer, just for good measure. But turning your home into a meat locker turns your utility bill into a dreaded nightmare.
Here are a few tips to keep your cool without making your bank account shed tears of ice:
- Use fans. Fans don’t actually cool the air, but the moving air makes your body think the room is cooler. Turning a fan on full-blast is much cheaper than running the air conditioner.
- Create a swamp cooler. Want to make it even cooler? Place a block of ice in a bowl in front of the fan. Point the fan toward you and surprise – an almost frigid breeze is headed your way.
- Cool your sheets. Put your sheets and pillowcases in the refrigerator for a few hours before you go to bed. The gentle all-over cooling can help you get to sleep fast – especially if that fan is blowing over you at the same time.
- Use the ice bottle trick. Fill a plastic bottle with water and freeze it. Before you go to bed at night, pull out the frozen bottle and slip it into an old, thick sock. When you get too hot at night, press the bottle against your pulse points – your wrists, behind your knee, at the back of your neck. The sock prevents the cold from hurting your skin while the coolness of the bottle lowers your core body temperature.
- Close your curtains. Follow the sun – when does it shine through the windows? Block that sunlight with heavy blinds or drapes. You might need to close some blinds in the morning and then close others in the afternoon. Once you figure out when you need to close them, you will find that your house stays cooler.
- Use small appliances instead of the oven. Running your oven during a heat wave is like inviting your home to spontaneously combust. Rely on your microwave, invest in a crockpot and use a toaster oven if you absolutely have to crisp something up.
- Get out of the house. If you can work from home on a laptop, what is stopping you from working at the local library? If the breeze outside is better than the ceiling fans inside, take your good book to a hammock in the shade. Be sure to turn down the air conditioning when you leave!
- Change the lightbulbs. Are you wondering how in the world this might cool things down? Here’s how: An incandescent light burns hot. An energy-efficient light burns with 75 percent less heat. You might be surprised at how much cooler a room can be when you change the lightbulbs!
Did you know that air conditioning can account for up to 60 percent of a family’s utility bill during the hottest months? Cut that cost down by trying out these tricks. But remember – when the heat wave gets too rough, it’s okay to crank the A/C for a few days, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.