10 Ways to Beat the Heat


Wilting under the heat?  Whether you have air conditioning or not, there’s a few things you can do to keep yourself and your home comfortable.  And some have the extra benefit of saving you energy:

  1. Turn off bathroom or kitchen fans as quickly as you can.  Exhaust fans can pull out the cool air from your home and send it out.  That can make your AC work harder to restore the room’s cool temperature.
  2. Cook with small appliances as much as you can.  Oven cooking tends to heat up a kitchen quickly.  That causes your air conditioning to increase energy use and heating up an oven uses more energy than a counter appliance.  Slow cookers, rice cookers, griddles, or indoor grills are the way to go if you must cook on a hot day.  A cold buffet plate is also a welcome meal when it’s hot.
  3. Is the ceiling fan on the right setting?  For summer use, to create a breeze or windchill effect, the blades should be turning counter-clockwise (reversing). A ceiling fan can offer relief and make the room more comfortable, especially if you do not have an air conditioner.
  4. Barbecue or Picnic: Everyone loves eating outdoors and foods cooked out taste the best.  Use your outdoor grill more often or pack a cold-plate picnic lunch or dinner on the patio or near your favorite lake or river.
  5. Draw the Drapes:  Close blinds and drapes during the hottest part of the day and open them after the sun goes down.  You can often reduce the interior temperature by 10 degrees by shutting out the sun and heat.  That will also save you air conditioning energy use.
  6. Get a Cross Breeze Going:  If you don’t have air conditioning, create cross ventilation by opening windows at opposite ends of the home.
  7. Humidify Dry Air:  If your home tends to be dry, run a humidifier on a very hot day to add moisture to the air. This will often drop the room’s temperature by a couple of degrees.
  8. Forget the Dishwasher: Any large appliance that heats up, also heats up the room to some degree. On a sweltering day, chose instead to use paper plates or delay the dishwasher cycle till the next day (while you’re at work).
  9. Microwave Cook or Steam: Use the microwave for steaming vegetables or warming left-overs, instead of cooking on the stove.
  10. Cool Your Body Temperature: Take a tepid shower, drink cold water or douse yourself with cool water often.  It’s not just the kids that can benefit from hanging out under a sprinkler.  Even sitting by a bowl full of ice cubes can make you more comfortable and help you avoid heat stroke.

Remember to drink a lot of water; you can dehydrate very quickly on a hot day.  Raw vegetables, salads and fruits – especially those loaded with water such as watermelon, can be comfort foods when the mercury rises, as can a cold salad plate.

If the air in the home becomes too stale, consider sitting under a shady tree outdoors or go to the lake to feel more comfortable.  The air close to lakes and rivers is often much lower than in the city. And you may have to defer your home renovation, yard work or landscaping projects to a cooler day.

If you plan on buying an air conditioner to better manage your home temperature, buy one sized for the room and look for the Energy Star efficiency rating to ensure you get the best energy savings.
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Above all, stay hydrated and keep your cool.

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