Let's cut to the chase -- it's hot out and it's only going to get warmer over the next couple months. And while it's tempting to crank up the AC or plant yourself within a couple-foot radius of the nearest fan, these certainly aren't the only tricks for keeping cool.
1. Keep your blinds closed. As simple as it may seem, the Family Handymannotes that up to 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows, and utilizing shades, curtains and the like can save you up to 7 percent on your bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees. In other words, it essentially prevents your home from becoming a miniature greenhouse, which is especially the case for south- and west-facing windows.
2. And be smart about your doors. Closing off unused rooms will prevent the cool air from permeating these areas during the hottest part of the day. You'll want to capitalize on the cooler night hours, however (see tip #7), and let air flow naturally through your home.
3. Swap your sheets. Not only does switching up your bedding seasonallyfreshen up a room, it's a great way to keep your bedroom cool. While textiles like flannel sheets and fleece blankets are fantastic for insulation, cotton is a smarter move this time of year as it breathes easier and stays cooler. And as an added bonus, buy yourself a buckwheat pillow or two. Because buckwheat hulls have a naturally occurring air space between them, they won't hold on to your body heat like conventional pillows, even when packed together inside a pillow case.
4. Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise. Whether you know it or not, your ceiling fan needs to be adjusted seasonally. By setting them counter-clockwise in the summer at a higher speed, the airflow produced will create a wind-chill breeze effect that will make you and your guests "feel" cooler.
5. Worry about the person, not the house. If your ancestors survived without air conditioning, so can you. From sipping tasty iced drinks to applying a cold cloth to strong-pulsed areas like your neck and wrists, doing the cooling from the inside out is not a bad idea. Other tricks include being smart about your clothing choicesand telling your partner you won't be cuddling until the leaves start changing color.
6. Turn on your bathroom fans, or your exhaust fan in the kitchen for that matter. Both of these pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your apartment. That being said, you don't want to let the cooler air escape, so be sure windows, doors and cracks are caulked before things start really heating up.
7. Let the night air in. During the summer months, temperatures tend to drop during the night. If this is the case where you live, make the most of these refreshing hours by cracking the windows before you go to bed. You can even create a wind tunnel by strategically setting up your fans to force the perfect cross breeze. Just be sure to close the windows (and the blinds) before things get too hot in the morning.
8. Ditch the incandescent lights. If you ever needed motivation to make the switch to CFLs, this is it. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy in the heat they emit, so throwing them to the curb will make a small difference in cooling your home while lowering your electric bill.
9. Start grilling. It's obvious, but we're going to say it anyway: Using your oven or stove in the summer will make your house hotter. If it already feels like 100+ degrees in your home, the last thing you want to do is turn on a 400 degree oven. Besides, who doesn't want to get more mileage out of their outdoor furniture and seasonal accessories?
10. Make a few long-term improvements. If you're really, really committed to the whole no-AC thing, you can make a couple changes to your home that will keep it cooler for seasons to come. Insulated window films, for example, are a smart purchase as they work similarly to blinds. And additions like awnings and planted trees or vines on or in front of light-facing windows will shield your home from the sun's rays, reduce the amount of heat your home absorbs and make your investment nothing but worthwhile.