For most of the country, the summer months are a time of extreme heat and humidity. Without proper protection from the elements, the young and elderly are extremely vulnerable to heat stroke and other health ailments. Even for adults who are relatively healthy, it is important to stay both cool and hydrated. What are some easy ways to keep cool this summer while lowering costs at the same time?
Block Out as Much Sunlight as Possible
Blocking out the light can cut down on one source of heat inside of your home. This can be done by drawing the curtains, pulling down the shades on the windows and closing the blinds. In addition to covering the windows, you can also black them out or put anything else that has a dark color in front of them. The dark colors will absorb more of the light and stop it from getting inside of your home.
Install Energy Efficient Windows
Energy efficient windows can help you lower your costs throughout the year. They work by regulating the amount of light and heat that is allowed to get through the window pane. During the summer months, the hot air and sunlight will be reflected back outside while the cooler air will be kept in the home. If you don't have money for new windows, you can check for cracks or other gaps between the window and the wall where hot air may be getting in. A layer of caulk should fill those gaps and increase the overall energy efficiency of the home.
Stay In The Lower Parts of the House
As hot air will rise, you may want to avoid the top levels of your home if at all possible. Sleeping in a den or basement area can help you stay cool without the need to run a fan or air conditioner. For those who do use fans, you can position a bowl of cool water next to it and have the fan blow on the water. This will cool the air faster and allow you to use a smaller fan to cool larger rooms, which will save you money on electricity costs.
Make Sure That You Have a Place to Cool Off Outside
If you home doesn't have air conditioning or it is too hot for it to be effective, you should consider going to the beach or to a public pool. Spending just a few minutes in the water can reduce your body temperature and give you an escape from the heat and humidity. The pool or the beach is also a great spot for the kids to have fun during summer vacation. Remember, if you or your kids are going to spend time outside, it is important to have sunscreen and plenty of liquids to keep them hydrated.
Keep the Refrigerator Stocked With Cool Treats
One of the easiest ways to keep cool is to eat foods that are chilled or frozen. Popsicles, ice cream or even just a few ice cubes is all that you need to keep cool when the temperatures start to soar to unhealthy levels. If you are worried about your health or keeping your kids healthy while enjoying a nice treat, you can use fruit juice in place of ice cubes to create a healthy and yummy snack. Sucking on a piece of frozen fruit can be a perfect way to keep the youngest children occupied and cool at the same time. While your pets may also enjoy a frozen snack, make sure to check with the vet before giving them anything that could be hazardous to their health.
Don't Exert Yourself During the Middle of the Afternoon
If you have to, adjust your schedule so that you are active when the sun is just coming up or after it goes down. These are the times of day where the weather is coolest and the sunlight will not be an issue. For instance, you may want to think about mowing your lawn first thing in the morning or in the evening hours after you get home from work. You may also want to work out in the evening or while it is dark if you have to do so outdoors. Ideally, you will sleep later in the morning and stay awake later at night to get more done and keep costs down.
Wear Fewer Layers of Clothing
While you may not want to sit around your house naked, you shouldn't be afraid to take off your socks and wear a light t-shirt instead of your normal attire. For children under the age of two or three, it may not be a bad idea to let them wear nothing but their diaper. In most areas, this is socially acceptable even if you have to take them out in public. Babies and young children are often more sensitive to the heat, which means that their comfort and safety should override any sort of public shame that you may anticipate.
While everyone tolerates the heat differently, it is important to stay cool no matter who you are. By keeping your home cool or getting to a location that does have proper air conditioning, you can keep yourself safe and comfortable until the heat subsides. If you have children or pets, it is critical that you know where you can take them if it gets too hot either inside or outside.