Pacific Northwest summers are tough to beat. The sun shines an average of 300 hours a month with less than an inch of rain, the temperature hovers between 75 and 80 degrees, and the hours of daylight are so numerous, it’s almost unreal.
It doesn’t often get too hot, but occasionally, warm winds roll from east to west, pushing the onshore flow back out to sea. This means the breezy air that keeps Seattle cool and pleasant disappears, and hotter, dryer weather sweeps the city.
If you’re like me, and your home or apartment doesn’t have air conditioning, it’s tough to live comfortably when the temperature climbs. Here are some tips and tricks that can help keep you cool. And even if you have AC, these ideas could save you a few dollars.
- Fans help a lot, even if the temperature is already warm. Trust me, you might be surprised what a little air movement can do. Ceiling fans that rotate counterclockwise and push the air down are most helpful. For another layer of cool and a quick fix, place a pan of ice in front of a fan and chill out: Cheap and effective!
- Use cotton sheets instead of flannel or fleece, and stay away from fabrics that trap heat, like polyester and satin.
- When the sun shines, close the blinds! It doesn’t take long for a room to heat up when the sun is shining in, even if it’s early in the morning. Keeping blinds and curtains closed may save up to 7 percent on your bills, and lower temperatures by 20 degrees.
- Closing doors to unused rooms during the day can help keep cooler air where it’s needed most. Opening doors again before you hit the hay will help cooler night air circulate throughout your home.
- If you’re doing major landscaping or thinking about it, add some shade around your windows and over your home with trees and bushes.
- Cross-ventilate by opening windows on both sides of your residence. This will work wonders, especially in the cooler evenings. Doing this not only clears out stagnant warm air, it brings in fresh, cleaner air.
- Cook outside (as if you needed another excuse to BBQ). Cranking up the oven can easily heat up your kitchen, and the rest of your home. Create meals that don’t require heat, like salads and sandwiches.
- Unplug any electrical devices you aren’t using, like phone chargers. If you leave everything plugged in and running, ambient heat can spread faster throughout the home.
- Buy a portable AC unit. It’s a quick fix, but cost varies depending on how fancy you go. Some units can cool an entire small home or apartment fairly efficiently, and others are only meant for smaller rooms. Some are free standing and others mount into windows. Look at your options and find what works best for your budget. You may find it’s worth a good night’s sleep!
- If all else fails, go for the big fix and install central air. There are various options depending on your budget, and whether or not you already have an existing forced-air heating system and air ducts. Take a detailed look at your energy usage and costs before making any big decisions.