Finding a place to stay cool is proving difficult, whether you’re outside or in. A "ring of fire" weather pattern is fueling dangerous heat waves in many states. Even if you have an air conditioner in your home, it may struggle to keep up — and cranking it will cost you big bucks. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take now and in the future to reduce the heat coming into your home.
1. Block your windows
Quick fix: Close your blinds. That can reduce heat gain by around 45 percent, according to the Department of Energy.
Future fix: Buy shades or drapes that are designed to block heat, and also to block cold air in winter. Consider installing an awning, which can reduce heat by 77 percent.
2. Maximize your fans
Quick fix: If using a ceiling fan, make sure the direction is changed to counterclockwise in the summer. If using a box or pedestal fan, placing a bowl of ice-cold water in front of it will create a chilly breeze. Also, don’t forget to turn on your bathroom fan when you shower.
Future fix: If you don’t have AC, build a fan fortress by setting up your fans in windows or hallways to maximize the cross-breeze.
3. Keep cool
Quick fix: Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of cold water and placing a cold cloth or two on your body. Also, wear light clothing around your house.
Future fix: Design a room, possibly a basement, where less light comes in and you can relax during the daily temperature peak.
4. Reduce lighting
Quick fix: Keep the lights and powerful electronics off, as they put out heat.
Future fix: Install compact fluorescent or LED lamps instead of using incandescent bulbs.
5. Change your bedroom sheets
Quick fix: Use your thinnest set of sheets. Thinner cotton tends to be much cooler than your heavier winter flannel sheets.
Future fix: Buy buckwheat pillows. They don’t hold onto your body heat like conventional pillows, according to HuffPost.
6. No hot meals
Quick fix: Eat meals that don’t need to be cooked. Turning on the stove or oven will quickly heat up the home. Consider using the microwave, or grilling outside. But a word of caution if you cook out — it violates much of what we talked about in this article as you need to keep your body cool!
Future fix: Install an exhaust fan, as it will help circulate out that hot air.