Both a blessing and a curse, air-conditioning can sometimes seem like the only way to survive the hot torrid summer months.
It’s important, however, that we consider alternatives ways to keep our home cool during the hot summer months. This is especially true for those of us with no air-conditioning or for those wishing to save on energy bills or keen to find more environmentally friendly ways to keep the house cool on the hottest days.
We have gathered some common-sense tips and other less well-known ones to help keep your home livable even on the most scorching days. Do you know them all?
Ways to survive the summer heat (without air conditioning)
1) Close everything It may seem like a contradiction, but when it’s very hot outside, an open window may well increase the temperature inside. It’s particularly important then that during the hottest part of the day, windows, shutters, awnings and doors are kept closed. It’s also worth keeping internal doors closed too, to keep the air fresh inside as cool as possible. Before going to sleep, open up everything so as to get what little night breeze there may be into the house and to freshen up the air. As the temperature rises again in the morning, close everything up once more to try and keep it cool inside and the heat out.
If you do find it hard to keep the windows closed during the day, try to only open those on the shadier side of the house and keep the ones facing the sun closed.
2) Turn off the stove In summer it is better to keep domestic activities to a minimum, so use ovens and stoves as little as possible. Try to avoid preparing food which requires a lengthy time in the oven, or if absolutely necessary, use the microwave.
Prioritise fresh ingredients and foods that can be eaten raw which are known to help maintain a healthy level of hydration and keep body temperature down. Keep it light with a refreshing salad, timeless ham and melon or a classic Caprese!
3) Darkness is your friend Only turn on lights when necessary, especially if you still have the traditional high energy light bulbs which produce a lot of heat. It’s best to opt for LED bulbs, but use them as little as possible.
Did you know that all electronic devices, even if left on standby, produce a small amount of heat? This is one more reason, in addition to saving energy, to turn off and disconnect all household appliances that you are not using.
4) Ventilate! Ceiling and free-standing fans can go a long way to keeping you cool on the hottest days. They don’t produce cool air, but they can help us stay fresh and feel less hot.
Not everyone knows, however, that ceiling fans need to be adjusted according to the season. In summer, the blades should turn anti-clockwise to direct the air down and create a cool breeze.
A smaller fan, however, needs to be positioned strategically: place it fairly close to you to keep it at the minimum speed, and remember that it consumes electricity just like any other electrical appliance, so turn it off when you leave the room.
5) Get rid of what you don’t need Not only household appliances, but also carpets, cushions and all the kind of furnishings that make you feel hot just looking at them! The lighter and more minimal your rooms, the cooler they will seem.
Whether you’re at home or out and about, it’s best to keep your clothing light and short, and better to save your silk, satin or polyester sheets until it gets colder. 100% cotton bedding is the ideal choice because it allows for greater air circulation, reduces possible skin irritations and absorbs sweat more easily.
Sleeping on a traditional Japanese futon, instead of a normal bed is also another possible night-time solution to combat the heat. Sleeping as low to the ground as possible is a great option. Hot air tends to rise, so sleeping on a less padded surface than our mattresses may just help. There’s nothing to stop you resorting to the floor either, if your back’s “up to it”