How to Keep Cool and Reduce Your Electricity Bills in our Hot Summer
Australia can have extreme weather, especially in summer. I was pregnant over summer and it nearly killed me! Having spent summer in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and now Noosa, hot and humid summers are something I had to get used to.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep cool instead of running the air conditioning 24/7.
1. Choose Cotton Sheets for Your bed
Cotton breathes, allowing air circulation and ventilation which you need to keep cool. Satin, polyester and other fabrics do not. I love a satin pillowcase for my hair but as for the rest, cotton is a must in summer.
Adairs have regular sales and high-quality linen to last a long time. Keep a lookout for their sales and sign up to their newsletter for an extra discount.
2. Ice Packs – use Your hot Water Bottle as one
Use a hot water bottle as an ice pack by filling it with some water and popping it in the freezer. Use it to cool you down instead of focusing on cooling the whole room. You can also use rice in a sock for a similar effect.
Placing something such as this in key areas of the body such as the back of your neck, under your arms etc can cool you quickly.
3. Fan and a Spray Bottle
Use fans instead of air conditioning and spray yourself with a water spray for extra cooling. My kids love doing this and as a kid I thought it was fun. It’s not the same as air conditioning but it is significantly cheaper.
4. Use Local Swimming Spots
Get out of the house when you can. Go for a swim at your local swimming spots such as the beach, river, lake. This will cool you down, give you something to do and means you aren’t paying to cool your home at the same time.
We live on the beach so this is easy for us. Be sure to use sunscreen and be sunsmart. A shade of some sort is handy to take with you and always reapply your sunscreen, wear a hat, rashies etc.
5. Wet Towel Blanket
As a kid, I loved having a wet face washer to go to sleep and so does my daughter. I have used wet towels as ‘blankets’ to cool myself in extreme weather when we had no air conditioning and it worked well. The cost of electricity in the Solomon Islands made air conditioning for our home too expensive.
6. Ice and fan for Cool air
Place a tray of ice, frozen bottles or ice packs in front of a fan to help cool the air. As the air will travel over the ice first, it will cool slightly and make the temperature a little more comfortable. Make sure you put a towel under the ice to absorb water as it melts.
7. Cool Down Your Pulse Points
Your pulse points are located at the wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees. These areas can have a profound impact on your body temperature. Place the aforementioned ice packs or even an ice block in these spots to cool your body quickly.
Create a cross-breeze where possible, especially when the temperature outside has cooled down and you open up the doors and windows to cool the house. A cross-breeze is significantly more effective than one window open.
Our home is designed so the front door flows through to the back door. We have two cross-breeze sections such as this on the lower floor of our home and helps a lot.
9. Keep Hydrated
Sweating and overheating causes dehydration if you aren’t drinking regularly. Increase your water intake, add ice to it and use it to keep cool.
10. Block Out The Sun
Keep curtains or blinds closed to stop the sun from heating up the whole house. In our apartment, it could be stinking hot in our bedroom by 7am if we didn’t keep the blind closed. We block the sun out as much as possible to keep the house cooler.
11. Turn Off Electrical Appliances
All electrical appliances generate heat. Turn off all lights, chargers, TV’s, everything when not in use to reduce heat and overall electricity usage.
We have a large TV now and the heat coming off it is intense. Find something else to do and keep all those ‘heaters’ in your house off.
12. Hang a Wet Sheet in Front of a Window
Hang a wet sheet in a window to cool down the air. As the hot air passes through the sheet the temperature of the air decreases.
13. Close Off Unused Rooms
Do not cool the entire house when you are only in one room. If you have central air conditioning close vents to stop the whole house being cooled.
14. Use Exhaust Fans
In your kitchen and bathroom use the fans! They are designed to remove hot air so use them when you cook or shower.
15. Open up When it Cools off
As soon as the temperature starts to drop, open up windows and doors to cool the house. Many places have a drop in temperature overnight so use it to your advantage.
16. Use Alternative Cooking Methods
Why do you think so many island nations cook underground or have rather simple cooking? One reason is it is so much cooler not having something heat up your home.
Instead of using the oven or stove, try using the grill on the BBQ outside, use a slow cooker (which can be placed in the garage or laundry) or eat salads and cold food. Don’t heat the house by cooking.
We love doing slow cooked meats for meals such as tacos, wraps etc. Or anything on the BBQ is always a winner.
17. Use the Right Cooling Option for Your Home
Most people have air conditioners larger than they need for the space they are cooling. This costs more to run and is not efficient. Get advice and get the right option for your space.
18. Adjust Your Air-Conditioner Settings
Most of us have the air conditioner set too low in summer and heating too high in winter. Set it at a comfortable temperature such as 23 – 26C instead of as low as you can go. It is cooler than outside, still comfortable and significantly cheaper.
Alternatively, look at the dry mode if you have it. It is much cheaper to run and works like an evaporative cooler.
19. Long-Term Solutions
If you own the place you live you can look at long-term solutions such as awnings, double glazed windows, solar power, trees and plants to cool the home.