February is the worst of the summer months – hot, humid and plain unpleasant.
But there are plenty of things you can do to stay cool with or without the air conditioning.
Follow the sun – In the southern hemisphere, a northerly aspect is best and dependent on where you live, there may be some cool breezes that you can take advantage of. Invest in block out curtains or blinds on eastern and western facing windows to block out as much heat as possible.
Get ready for bed early – Air out your bedroom several hours before bed time to ensure a better night’s sleep. The UK’s Sleep Council recommends bedrooms are cooled to between 16-18oC.
Get cool by degrees – 16-18oC might be a bit impractical for Australian conditions, but anything a few degrees cooler than the ambient temperature is better than nothing! According to American researchers, sleeping in a bedroom with a temperature of 75oF (24oC) could even help increase your metabolism!
24oC is also the magic number to remember is you are using your air conditioning.
You can save up to 10% off your cooling costs for every 1 degree on your thermostat.
Speaking of air conditioning, clean and dust your air conditioner to make sure it is working as efficiently as possible. Point your air conditioning vents towards the floor. Cool air tends to pool on the floors and this is the most efficient way to cool your living spaces.
Air-conditioning is not the only way to stay cool.
Become a fan of the fan. You can maximise the cooling benefits of air conditioning by using fans to drive cool air through other rooms.
And if you can, use fans in the first instance – an air conditioner will use seven times as much electricity as a fan!
Chill out. Turn on your table fan and stick a frozen bottle of water in front of it to get some cold air circulating.
Keep the heat out. It’s too hot to cook. It’s a great excuse and it has practical applications. The heat generated from ovens and stoves is harder to shift in summer. And if living on cold salads until mid-March doesn’t appeal, consider making the most of the outdoors by barbecuing meals and if you have to cook inside, be sure to use extractor fans.
A dry argument. Clothes dryers are another heat source which isn’t needed in summer. Improvise an evaporative cooler by drying a load of washing indoors in front of a fan. Sun exposure, especially when it’s intense, gradually fades colours, so this is a great way to dry coloured loads.
Do you have any cool tips you’d like to share? Let us know in comments below!