Summertime, and the livin' is … sweaty. From the subway to the sidewalk, it's freaking hot. (At your office, though, it's probably freezing AMIRITE?) Good news: you can stay cool at home without running up a ridiculous electric bill.
If you were a captain of industry, you could build your home underground near a subterranean spring and a diamond mine. If you were merely a person of means, you could build an eco-friendly house into the side of a hill, insulating the walls with recycled tires, and such. Maybe that's your plan (send us pics!), but what if you need to get your temperature down right now? No problem:
You know how you open your windows before you go to work to air the place out during the day? Yeah, don't do that. Even if you aren't running the A/C during the day and your. Even if your pad is a one step away from a shantytown. Check it out: your house has some insulation in it. If you leave the windows closed, your place will retain some of the chill you imparted by leaving the aircon on all night. Once the sun goes down, you can open them up for an hour or so to get some fresh air in. If you live in a perpetually hot and humid climate, it's best to only open windows on the bottom floor of your building—after all, heat rises.
If you're facing direct sunlight, start by blocking out blazing morning sun with heat blocking, radiant curtains such as these from Temptrol. Sure, they're a little, uhm, ugly, but they provide a thick barrier for light and heat while remaining perforated to let the air in when you want it. No need to choose between sweating to death now and suffocating to death later.
Oscillating fans that you can pick up at any home store are a no-brainer when it comes to staying cool. For an easy upgrade to the store-bought fan, set a shallow pan of ice water in front of the blades to get an AC-esque cool.
Air Condition Smart
If you are one of the lucky ones with central air, there are a few things you can do to keep costs down. First, install a programmable thermostat. Set the temperature in your house to go up when no one's home, and back down to a nice, cool 78 degrees when you get home. If there are infrequently used rooms in your house or apartment, close the vents. There's no sense in cooling an empty room 24/7.
For the rest of us, the empty-room rule also applies. If you're not in there, close the door.
In addition to the above suggestions, there are little things you can do such as turning off heat-producing appliances (like your computer …) taking cold showers, and forcing your significant other to sleep on the couch. Good luck! And remember, come February, you'll be missing the heat.
You can keep up with Annie Hauser, the author of this post, on Twitter.