Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

Welcome to the sizzling days of summer, when one of your home’s top jobs is to keep you cool. Air-conditioning is the silver bullet for summer heat, but energy costs make many people reluctant to turn it on, says the CDC, and poorly maintained systems can worsen allergies. Nonetheless, using a less effective window unit or fan could put you at risk of heat-related symptoms, such as the headaches, dizziness, and nausea caused by heat exhaustion.

Helpful Tips for Staying Cool

  • Maximizing your AC – Keep the air filter clean to avoid clogging or fungus may grow there. For the best results, close the doors to the rooms that get air conditioning. This will trap the cool air in the room, keeping you cooled down. Check that the setting on the AC is on “high” to move the air through faster and farther. It uses very little additional power, but may make a louder “shushing” air sound.
  • Hit the shower – Anything that puts water in touch with your skin cools you down because that water evaporates, which simulates sweating. You can also achieve the evaporative effect by misting with a spray bottle or applying a cool cloth to your neck.
  • Turn on the tap – Speaking of water, it almost goes without saying to drink plenty of it. Hydration helps your body move blood to the surface more efficiently, and it enables you to sweat. The best gauge of your body’s fluid needs is urinary output. If you’re going to the bathroom less often and in smaller amounts than usual, your body is dehydrated and preserving its liquids—so drink up!
  • Shield the windows – About 40% of your home’s heat comes in through windows, especially those facing east and west. To block it, curtains, shades, and blinds should closely fit windows and be a light, reflective color. While you could install Energy Star windows with a low-E coating, which deflects heat, Kohler says an easier move is to buy a clear, heat-control window film from a home-improvement store, such as Home Depot, and apply it to your standard windows.
  • Choose cotton bedding – Many of us have trouble nodding off in a room warmer than 75°F, says the National Sleep Foundation. So keep cool with cotton sheets and loose-fitting pj’s. Cotton is a breathable fiber that lets air circulate, so your body heat can dissipate to the surface and sweat can evaporate.