The peak of summer is coming, and while that may mean vacations, sundresses, and refreshing cocktails, it also means dealing with the less glamorous side of the season: extreme heat. While this may mean you can simply tap a button on a thermostat to cool down your home, for those without air conditioning, you may be in search of environmentally friendly AC alternatives.
While many properly working air conditioners don't release hydrofluorocarbons (chemical compounds known as HFCs that play a role in climate change in the same way that greenhouse gases do), they still account for a decent portion of residential energy use nationwide.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to reduce your individual carbon footprint and stay cool without air-conditioning. For those living without the luxury of air conditioning, to begin with, these tips are for you, too. Here are eight ways to beat the heat this summer without cranking up the AC.
Draw the Curtains
Windows are responsible for a good amount of heating and cooling loss in your home. If it's extremely hot outside, make sure your windows are closed and sealed properly. Also, you may want to consider closing your blinds or investing in insulated curtains or blackout shades to keep out heat.
Invest in a Fan
Simple and to the point, a fan is a great alternative to AC, especially if you live in a small space. If you're in a home you own, consider installing a ceiling fan, which is a super-simple alternative to a window unit or central air. Otherwise, find an area fan that you can easily move around your home and take with you from room to room.
Swap Your Bedding
Trade out heavy bedding for lightweight sheets. You can also find pillows, mattress pads, and sheets specifically designed to keep you cool during the warm summer months from brands like Chili, Cool-jams, and Chillow. The best materials to shop when it comes to feeling a little cooler at night are natural fibers like cotton and linen. They're super breathable, making it easier for heat to escape the bed.
Sip on Iced Drinks
Staying cool doesn't have to mean ridding your home of heat. Keep your body cool by drinking iced beverages of your choosing. It's also a great way to ensure that you stay hydrated during the hot weather.
Keep a Cool Cloth Handy
Pop a damp hand towel in the freezer and wrap the chilled cloth on the back of your neck or on your wrists to cool down in a pinch.
Invite in the Night Air
The air is always cooler once the sun goes down, so come nightfall, open up your windows and doors in the evening to allow cool air inside your home.
Make sure you get screens to keep pesky insects out.
Toss Incandescent Bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs waste about so much of the energy they use in the form of heat. Swap any remaining outdated light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent lamps or light-emitting diodes to stay cool and save energy.
Avoid Your Oven
Avoid baking at all costs during the summer. Preheating the oven will heat up your entire home, so take your cooking skills outside and grill up dinner instead. There are also plenty of yummy recipes to try that don't involve turning on the oven. Think no-bake desserts, refreshing salads, and easy sandwiches.