If you think the cost of air conditioning your home is high, you’re probably not alone. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy1, homeowners pay over $11 billion per year in air conditioning costs. That’s enough money to send a shiver up anyone’s spine.
Whether you want to cut utility costs or lack air conditioning in your home altogether, you don’t have to suffer all summer long. Remember - the first air conditioning unit wasn’t invented until 19022. People have been cooling down without it for thousands of years.
When you’re ready to bring down the temperature of your home, and hopefully your monthly energy bill, try the following tricks:
Feel the breeze
People often forget that Mother Nature provides her own form of air conditioning for free. The only complication is you can’t turn it on with a switch. You can, however, turn a box fan on with a switch. And if you cleverly place box fans throughout your home it can do wonders for improving indoor air temperatures.
If you are getting a decent breeze from one window, place a fan in the window sill or the doorway of that room and pull the outside air inward. If you aren’t getting a breeze at all, face the fan outward so it blows the hot air out of your home. If you can combine these two concepts on opposite ends of your home, you should be able to create a vacuum of air flowing from one side to the other.
Dip your feet
Cold foot baths may take a bit of courage but the payoff is backed by science. Much of the body’s heat transfer happens where blood vessels are closest to the skin, known as “pulse points.”3 You may be familiar with this term because it is where a medical professional would check your pulse (neck, wrists, ankles, forehead and temples).
If you cool down the blood flowing through your ankles, for example, blood will soon circulate throughout your entire body at a cooler temperature. If a cold foot bath is too much to handle, try running cold water over your wrists or resting a cold, wet towel on your forehead or neck.
Swap your sheets
As the seasons change, so should your bedding. Flannel sheets and thick comforters may be great for insulation but trapping heat isn’t your goal anymore. Lighter, natural materials such as cotton and linen are ideal in the warmer months because they breathe easier and stay cooler. Natural fibers are also known to wick away perspiration, meaning it can pull moisture off your body to the exterior of the sheet where it can evaporate more easily.
If you want to take your sleeping experience down a couple more degrees, try using a buckwheat pillow. Much like cotton and linen, buckwheat hulls allow air to flow freely and don’t trap heat like a conventional pillow. There are also cooling gel pillows on the market, but if you want to keep it natural, buckwheat is the coolest choice.
Say no to the stove
This last trick may seem obvious but it’s worth mentioning. No matter how delicious your chicken queso casserole may be, heating up your oven to 400 degrees for 30 minutes is not ideal during the summer. Besides, wouldn’t you rather be grilling outdoors and enjoying the weather?
If grilling isn’t an option you can still use a microwave or stovetop skillet to cook your meals. There are also a variety of cold food recipes4 to try and most of them don’t require a lot of cooking knowledge. If you desire a refreshing meal, a watermelon and feta salad with a glass of ice water is one way to beat the heat.
You don’t need a compressor and liquid refrigerant to stay cool - all you need is a little creativity and ingenuity. Hopefully these tricks will help you feel a bit cooler than you did before.