There are ways to cool down without pumping the AC.

| By Nicole Kliest | Wellness

How to Prep Your Home For a Heatwave

There are ways to cool down without pumping the AC.

Did you hear? It’s hot out there. Like, need-to-plunge-your-head-in-a-public-fountain kind of hot. And if your home isn’t equipped with central AC it’s probably a tad toasty inside as well.

But fret not – there are ways you can mitigate extreme heat without racking up an insane energy bill. Ahead, we round up some standard checklist items as well as a hack or two to keep your home cool and comfortable for the rest of summer.

1. Keep your Windows and curtains closed

We know—this one is a bit of a drag. But if the air outside is warmer than your home, it’ll do no good to keep the windows open (especially if there’s very little breeze). Furthermore, the sun shining directly onto your glass will create a greenhouse effect and increase the temperature in your space. In other words, if you know it’s going to be a particularly scorching day, you’re best off keeping the shades and windows sealed tightly for the time being.

2. Clean your AC unit filter

For those city-dwellers who are working with a window air conditioner unit, be sure to keep your filter clean at all times. Not only does this help with health issues including allergies to dust, it also makes your appliance more efficient and, thus, keeps you cooler.

3. Freeze some stuff

Leading up to a hellishly hot day, throw some items in your freezer to help keep you cool. Food items are a great place to start – grapes, blueberries, watermelon. You can also toss water bottles and washcloths in the freezer and take them out in the evening to cool you down before bed. In essence, don’t underestimate the lo-fi (but effective!) approach of freezing stuff.

4. Unplug unused, large electronics

All appliances generate some heat, and while some are bound to produce more warmth than others based on size and output, if you’re crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s before a heat wave, it can’t hurt to unplug large electronics you’re not using to help even a small amount. Plus, you might even save a little on your energy bill!

5. Create a cross draft

If your air conditioner unit doesn’t seem to cool down the entire space, you can bring in reinforcements without having to buy a second or third device. Grab any fans you have in storage or around the house and create a cross draft that carries some of the cool air from your unit into different parts of your home. Ultimately, creating an airflow in your home and ensuring some of that original air is cooled down will go a long way.

6. Ensure your windows are sealed

If your gameplan during a heatwave is to stay indoors then you’ll want to make sure your home is akin to a cool, breezy fortress. Of course, keeping your windows and curtains or blinds closed is the first step. But if you live in an older home with windows that may not be properly sealed, you may want to look into window caulk or sealant to keep the heat out (something like this foam insulation tape would work well, for example).

7. Avoid your oven like the plague

You know when’s a really great time to bake a pie? Anytime except a heat wave. We hate to stifle your budding chef skills but when temperatures are spiking, keep your stove and oven off at all costs. Instead, look for no-bake recipes with flavourful ingredients or stick to easy summer favorites like fresh salads.

8. Dress your bed the right way

We’ve covered this topic at length before, but one of the best things you can do to keep your bedroom (and body) temperature down is by dressing your bed for summer. This can mean anything from swapping to linen sheets in lighter colors, taking unnecessary throw blankets off, trying out a temperature-regulating duvet insert, and keeping the sheets light and loose so air can circulate.

9. Close Doors to Unused Rooms

During a heatwave, any source of cool air is your friend – meaning, don’t work against your AC unit! If you’re not occupying certain rooms, close those doors so your cool air can flow into areas you are spending time in. If you don’t force your air conditioner to work overtime, your body temperature and your energy bill will thank you for it.

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