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We’re having a bit of a heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest. We live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and we generally have mild weather — think Seattle.
So when temperatures suddenly shoot up, we’re in shock and suddenly complaining that it’s too hot.
You see, since it’s rarely really hot here, most people don’t have air conditioning in their homes.
(I do keep one portable air conditioner in my bedroom and it really helps as the upstairs in our townhouse gets incredibly hot.)
As I’m sitting here trying to stay cool from the breeze of a fan, I stumbled upon a post that Amy Gates from Crunchy Domestic Goddess wrote for us a few years back for our sister site 5 Minutes for Going Green.
Amy shared some tips to reduce your air conditioning use in an effort to stay greener during the summer months.
These tips are extra helpful for those of us who don’t even have air conditioning.
- Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use, that means your computer too. All of those appliances use energy and generate heat.
- Avoid using your oven to cook. Instead use a toaster oven, Instant Pot, microwave or barbecue grill. These faster cooking methods also let you have more time to enjoy family time.
- Keep your windows and doors closed and shades/blinds drawn during the day. This will help keep the heat out.
- When it cools off at night, open all of the windows, to let the house cool down. If you have a whole-house attic fan, turn it on at night (with windows open) to bring in the cool night air. Or you can position fans to draw the cold air into your house. In the morning, turn off the fans and seal up the house for the day.
- Keep yourself and the kids hydrated and drink lots of water.
- Eat cold or cool foods. (Cold smoothies, slushies like this strawberrie slushie, and popsicles are perfect.)
- Go to the lowest point in the house. Your basement is usually the coolest place to be. Spend the hottest part of the day down there to get some relief from the heat or consider moving your bed to the basement for the summer.
- If you live in an area with low humidity, consider using an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) to cool your house.
- Using ceiling fans instead of air conditioning will help keep the air circulating and uses a whole lot less energy than A/C.
- If you are staying inside for the day and feel comfortable doing so, shed some (or all) of your clothes. Kids will especially get a kick out of running around in nothing but their skivvies. If dropping your drawers isn’t for you, try soaking part or all of your shirt in lukewarm water, ringing it out and then putting it back on. Instant relief!
- Soak a washcloth in cold water and drape in on the back of your neck to send shivers down your spine.
- If you must be outside, stay in the shade as much as possible and remember to stay hydrated. You can keep kids in a shady area by helping them make some easy chalk art.
- Lastly, if going without your air conditioner is truly not an option, you can still save energy (and green, of the money variety) by bumping up your thermostat up a few degrees. Try increasing it a degree at a time over several days until you reach 78 degrees or as high as your comfort permits. This will allow some time for you and your family to adjust to the change. Also close cooling vents and doors in rooms you aren’t using. Keep your A/C unit clean and in good running order by replacing filters as needed.
I hope these tips help keep you and your family as cool and comfortable as possible this summer.
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Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom
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