Summer can be really unbearable and irritating and even seem very longest season of the year but we have here these 14 natural ways to cool yourself and your home will help you save money on energy bills and rely on less on-air conditioning, even though the scorching summer weather.
- Declutter Rooms
A cluttered room feels hot! Remove unwanted curios, furniture, books, newspapers, and magazines from the room to make it airier. Throw open the windows and pack off all your synthetic drapes and thick wooly carpets that look and feel hot. Instead, invest in thin rugs made from jute and hemp that look good and feel great.
Also, replace your centerpiece with one that psychologically creates a feeling of cool calmness. Take a vase, a bowl, or any other glass vessel and fill it with cold water. Next, put in some pretty flowers (or even petals), pebbles, seashells or even fresh leaves for a whimsical piece of decor that is as summery as it gets!
- The correct Light
Turn off lights when not in use – especially incandescent bulbs. Not only do they consume more power and increase your electricity bills, but they also radiate a lot of heat. It’s best to replace them with cooler light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescents (CFLs).
- Breathing curtains
With the harsh summer sun knocking at the windows, it’s important to keep the interiors of your home as light and airy as possible. Choose for cotton and sheers (especially in white or pastel colors) while choosing curtains or layer your windows with jute screens and bamboo shades. Dark synthetic drapes are definitely a no-no in the summer months.
You can also make your own burlap curtains – the open weave of the fabric lets the room breathe while filtering light beautifully, and the fabric, while inexpensive, has a rich texture that can be dressed up or down. Get instructions here.
- Bring in Nature
Strategically placed plants, shrubs, and vines function as living air conditioners and can effectively cool a home. Plant shady trees and plants on the east and west sides of the house to block out the sun’s rays.
Growing vines and creepers along staircase balustrades, balcony grills or indoor screens/dividers can also help keep the shaded area beneath them as much as 20 degrees cooler than the surroundings.
- Paint the roof with White color
In much the same way the ice/snow reflects UV rays instead of absorbing the heat as the oceans do, white roofs/terraces reflect the heat and help keep the house cool. This is why a coat of white lime wash on a flat terrace can help the slab to remain cool throughout the summer. However, this washes away in the rains, so reapplication is required every summer.
A more long-lasting (and more expensive) solution would be using solar-reflective white paint to coat the roof. Another way of reducing roof temperature is stacking bundles of damp straw (a natural insulator) on a plastic sheet on the roof. However, the best way to keep a roof cool is a terrace garden (the mud used to grow plants acts as an insulator) though it may be time-consuming.
- Go Low-Tech: Bowl of Ice and a Fan
An excellent and affordable method to keep a room cool can be found using three things that are easily available in any house: a fan, large metal bowl, and ice. The air blowing around a large metal bowl of ice helps it function as a crude health sink.
While other frozen or chilled items are also likely to work, ice is a better option because even after the cubes melt, the cool water left behind continues to cool the room (though at a reduced rate).
- Cross Ventilate
Create a breeze inside your home by strategically opening your windows at opposite ends to enable cross ventilation. While cross-ventilation is a well-known phenomenon, not many people know that time also plays a crucial factor. The best time to open the windows during summers is between 5.00 to 8.00 am in the mornings and between 7.00 to 10.00 pm in the evening when the air is still pleasantly cool.