As the temperature heats up, we may all want to turn up the air-conditioning (if you’re lucky enough to have it) or just plant ourselves in front a fan to try cool down.
We’ve all been there, looking for a way to beat the heat. It’s awful tossing and turning in bed, stuck to the sheets, drenched in sweat… the consistent hum of the mosquito that’s just out of your reach, you know is going to spend the rest of the night dancing around your ear.
The obvious solution is to get an aircon – A nice blast of cool, conditioned air can keep a bedroom at the ideal sleep temperature and help deal with those pesky mosquitoes too. On the other hand, the downside is the cost – upfront and then running it.
Installing or even buying a portable air-conditioner is not affordable for the majority, and even in newly built properties where there is a trend of installing an air-conditioning unit or system, often the cost of running of running this equals a very expensive electricity bill or people worry about the environmental impact.
And then ofcourse we cant forget “loadshedding”. With the electrical blackouts that seem to making an appearance again, our electricity supply can become unstable and unpredictable.
No power, means no aircon!
Now you may be wondering if there is any hope of staying cool in this heatwave…
But you dont have to suffer or spend a fortune on your electricity bill just to stay cool… Have air-conditioner or a fan or none of these things, never fear we’ve put together this list of useful tips and DIY ideas or some simple investments to help get you and your home ready for summer
Keep the Sun Out, but let the Heat Out too
One of the best ways to make sure your home stays cool in the summer is to keep the sun out and give the hot air somewhere to go. This might seem obvious, but draw your blinds and curtains to prevent your windows acting like a greenhouse. By keeping them closed the heat will be reflected back outside, and you’ll keep the temperature lower. You could even use blackout curtains to make this effect even better. (Red, orange, and yellow curtains will reflect the most heat.)
Once it starts to get a little cooler outside, open those curtains and let the warm air out.
Close (and open) the Doors
It makes sense to keep as many doors open inside your house as possible to create an air flow, so try closing doors to rooms you aren’t using. This will prevent cold air heading into these rooms. Basically, light can equate to heat. So you need to keep your home dark and the doors closed up tight to keep that excess heat out of your home.
This is especially help for keeping your room cool at night.
Ventilation & Breezes
Rooms can get pretty stuffy inside when there is no proper source of cross ventilation. Place a fan across a door or a window, so that a cross breeze is created by the wind outside and the fan.
You can use box fans to create a cross breezes in your home – there is a strategic way to use them. Place them in a window, but point them facing out of the windows. This will pull the hot air out of your home and blow it out of the windows.
Fans, Fans, Fans
Before there was air-con, how did people cool down?! This may be sound strange, but this old school tricks really does work, a DIY air-con system…
Put a shallow pan or bowl (a roasting pan works nicely) full of ice in front of a fan. When the ice melts the breeze from the fan picks up the cool air coming from the ice’s surface, creating a nice cool mist.
Did you know there is a right way and a wrong way to use your ceiling fan?
Ceiling fans are a tremendous help in keeping your home cool enough. They keep the air moving constantly which obviously cools your home down. In the summer your ceiling fan should go counter-clockwise. This will push the cool air down and give you that wind affects you are looking for when trying to cool off.
Egyptian Old School
“The Egyptian Method” – a method used by the Egyptians to keep their beds cool. This involves dampening a sheet or towel under running water in the shower or tossing them in the washing machine’s spin cycle until saturated. Wring the sheets out so they are damp but not soaking. Place a dry towel under your body to avoid soaking the mattress. The moist sheets provide a cooling sensation while sleeping. Another option is to use damp towels. . Remember, the cooler you stay, most likely the better sleep you’ll get.
A Hot Water Bottle Frozen!
The same way you can fill up a hot water bottle with boiling to help with aches and pains, you can also fill it with ice or cold water and freeze it. This is a good option because of the material the bottle is made from. It won’t sweat and create a mess in your bed. And it will also take it longer to lose its coldness too.
Cool with Cotton
Keep away from polyester, satin or silk bed-sheets and opt for cotton ones instead.
Light-colored bed linens made of lightweight cotton (Egyptian or otherwise) are breathable and excellent for promoting ventilation and airflow.
Less is definitely more when it comes to summertime sleepware. Pick a loose, soft cotton.
Hot water bottles aren’t the only thing that you can put in there to help you keep cool. Make a little room inside for a couple of wet washcloths or try placing your sheets in the freezer for a couple of minutes before you’re about to go to bed
(** PRO-TIP : Make sure you place your sheets in a plastic bag before you pop them in the freezer – you don’t want your bed to smell like a frozen pizza)
The coldness won’t last very long but it will help you lull yourself to sleep.
More with Sheets
Put a Wet Sheet to Use – wet a sheet with cold water, and then hang it over or in front of an open window. The breeze blowing in over the sheet will help bring down the room’s temperature.
Light bulbs – even if they are environmentally friendly – give off heat.
Energy efficient bulbs are preferable to regular bulbs since they don’t produce as much heat. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible. Keep rooms cool after dark by using lights minimally or not at all.
Try to avoid using the stove and oven, using them in the summer will make your house hotter. If you must try cook with your stove in the morning when it is still cooler outside.
Try to pre-plan meals so that you don’t need to use the oven during the day.
An alternative is to cook outdoors either cook on the braai/ grill, or in a microwave.
Like light bulbs, your electrical appliances radiate heat which won’t help when you’re trying to cool down. If you’ve ever touched an electronic after it has been on for a while, then you know how hot they can become.
So when your electronics are not in use, unplug them. This will help put a halt to excess heat being formed inside your home.
Focus on You
Focus on the temperature in your body, not the house. From sipping tasty iced drinks to applying a cold cloth to strong-pulsed areas like your neck and wrists, cooling yourself from the inside out is not a bad idea.
Instead of big, heavy meals, go for smaller, lighter dinners, which are easier to metabolize. It takes a lot more energy for your body to break down protein than fats or carbs.
Apply ice packs or cold compresses to pulse points at your wrists, neck, elbows, groin, and ankles and behind your knees.
Hot air rises, so set up your bed as close to the ground as possible to beat the heat.
In a multifloor house or apartment, sleep on the ground floor or in the basement instead of on an upper story.
Do you have some other tips to help keep with out and air-coniditioner?
Share them with us in the comments below