It’s 97 degrees outside – now what?
When I first moved to New Jersey, I rented a room in a large family home. When the dog days of Summer began to settle in, the curtains were closed, and the roof was opened! Whoever was upstairs at the time, would turn an old fashioned crank, that would slowly open up a big, square trapdoor, seamlessly fitted inside the roof. Then, we would pull a long, metal chain and a gigantic fan would begin to turn, drawing the hot air back into the universe.
Of course it worked, sometimes the best things are the simplest, but it always reminded me of something that Professor Potts would have built in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie; perhaps the next time it wouldn’t close, and suddenly the house would be filled with birds and airplanes, precariously avoiding the fan that was spinning far to fast….
Anyway, all this heat, means that most of us retreat inside; watching the children through the window, as they play in sprinklers and pools, or, simply see who can lift up the heaviest bucket of water before they drop it on someone elses head (praying that no-on gets hurt, and we don’t have to run outside, cranky with sweat, to save them). I wish that I still felt that way; loving the playfulness of ice cold water, hopping about on hot concrete, and eating Popsicles that dripped more than I could eat (licking my hands to catch the red, syrupy concoction, not caring that my mother would never be able to get the stain out).
Summer days for grownups can feel like a chore, but, maybe if we can keep our cool (and our home’s) we can lower our electric bill, and enjoy ourselves at the same time…
Of course, there is the obvious – keep your curtains closed when the sun hits the hottest ( darker colors keep out more light, but lighter colors make you feel cooler – you choose). But, either way, closing the curtains in the heat of the day, will help reduce the temperature. It will also prevent your furniture from fading. If you are inclined towards all natural fabrics, the sun can damage them beyond repair. The fibers can break down, and the color will fade. The next time you buy new furniture, for a sun-filled room, inquire about fade resistance and sun durability.
Trees will shade your home and reduce the glare, but no-one can grow a quick tree, so this is a silly suggestion really.
Window Fans are a good, temporary solution. They drawing hot air out of the house and can be removed when not needed. Scattered throughout your home, conventional fans will keep the air circulating, giving the illusion of being cooler, even if you’re not.
A Dehumidifier. If you don’t have one built into your home heating/cooling system, then consider buying one for the main area of the house. They can be an expense, but you will be shocked at how reducing the humidity will lower the temperature and make your home more comfortable. Plus, the water it collects can be used to water your plants!
Don’t run appliances unless it’s necessary, they create so much excess heat. Run the dishwasher and washing machine at night, when it is cooler. Cook, or bake, only if you really need to. Use the grill, or make sandwiches and salads.
Turn off computers, televisions, stereos, lamps, cell-phone chargers etc when they are not in use.
I hope this helps, but, if not, maybe you should go out for a Popsicle?
For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com/