With summer officially in full swing, people around the country are starting to look for new ways to beat the heat. Though having the sun out in full swing means days at the beach, time in the pool, and the inevitable cookouts, it also means record-breaking heat waves and an electricity bill that makes you feel like you need a second job. If you are unfortunate enough to live in certain areas, you may even be noticing spikes that top 90, or 100 degree. Residents of states like Florida also have that humidity to deal with (which feels like it must be 1000 percent), making the temperature feel a good 10 degrees warmer than it really is. So, it seems only appropriate that a writer from Florida (that’s me!) would provide some creative ways to beat the heat.
Sure, the air conditioner is the big way you are going to survive the summer, but if you do live in one of those warmer states, you might notice that during peak hours of the day your air is constantly running and that thermostat is still finding its way above the temperature you set. While you might feel like this is some cruel curse that only you have to deal with, don’t fret. It’s more common than you might think. Fortunately, there are some inexpensive ways to help make your air conditioner’s job easier, which might even help it survive without running non-stop all day.
The first place to start is with insulation. No, you don’t have to climb in your attic and cut up that itchy insulation (or blow in new insulation). That stuff is a pain, and it is also quite expensive. Instead, you should begin with low-cost options. Go to your local hardware store and pick up some of those insulation rolls for the windows and doors. Make sure every single entry to your home is insulated with this stuff. A tiny crack lets out cool air, which means hot air is getting in and since you can take care of a small home with less than $50, it won’t feel too heavy on your wallet.
While you are looking at your house, the next step is to look at some curtains to put up. If your windows are already insulated, curtains can still make a significant difference. In fact, the US Department of Energy suggest that good curtains can reduce heat passing into the home by as much as 45 percent. That’s pretty significant. If you have a budget store nearby, you can find blackout curtains and a rod for under $40 and install it yourself. That makes this another cost-effective way to beat the heat.
Of course you know drinking water is important, but in the summer water might have some other uses as well. One great way to stay cooler is to take a small spray bottle (buy one at the dollar store for $1) and fill it up with water. Maybe even take a few of them and leave them in the refrigerator overnight. Throughout the day, go ahead and spray yourself with them. While the face is always a refreshing option, a pro tip is to blast your wrists with it as well.
Another way to help beat the heat is to plan out your summer meals carefully. Whenever possible, make sure to avoid using the oven. If you do need it, cook an extra meal while you’re at it so you don’t have to use it again later. In addition to this, look towards lighter meals. Digestion takes time and requires energy, so eating lighter meals takes away some of the heat you might normally generated. Make some Popsicles or throw some fruit in the freezer. These make for especially refreshing snacks.
The summer can be vicious, and though you aren’t likely to really suffer long term health effects from poor heat strategies, it can lead to months of discomfort. With that in mind, look for any other tricks you can to beat the heat. Perhaps you rig up a fan with an ice pack from the freezer so it blows cooler air your way. Maybe you turn off lights to reduce the heat generated within your home. Or, maybe you even put some rice in the freezer and stick it under your pillow at night for cooling relief. Whatever the case might be, these tips should help you beat the heat and survive the summer.