Living Without Air Conditioning? Here’s How to Stay Cooler at Home. – Yahoo News

Shade trees can be an important tool in keeping cool. (Bethany Mollenkof/The New York Times)

Shade trees can be an important tool in keeping cool. (Bethany Mollenkof/The New York Times)

Scorching temperatures at the height of summer often surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) for days and even weeks at a time across many parts of the globe.

While some people are able to find relief from the heat in air conditioning, it is a luxury that many others can’t afford. Until recent heat waves, many people living in traditionally temperate climates, such as Britain and the Pacific Northwest, have not considered their regions hot enough to need it.

But as heat waves around the world grow more frequent and longer lasting, they can raise the risk of heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, the number of hot days is increasing, and the frequency of heat waves in the United States has jumped from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year by the 2010s. That report explains that the season for heat waves is now 45 days longer than it was six decades ago.

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If you’re facing extreme heat, here are some ways you can help regulate the temperature inside your home without the use of air conditioning.

— If possible, shade or cover windows that are exposed to direct sunlight (especially north and west-facing windows), and use shutters if you have them. While blinds or curtains are cheaper options that are easier to install, they are also less effective at keeping the heat out. Dark curtains and blinds made of metal can also make a room hotter.

— Consider planting deciduous trees, which can provide shade over your home in the summer months. Hanging external, large potted plants over windows can also have similar effects.

— If the air outside feels cooler than inside, open the windows and try to get air flowing through the home. Otherwise, keep doors and windows closed when temperatures are at their peak.

— Use a fan to help circulate the air. Remember, fans don’t always help if the humidity is high. Ceiling fans should be adjusted to rotate counterclockwise, which pushes the air down and creates a cooling effect.

— In the kitchen, where there are multiple sources of heat, double check that refrigerators and freezers are working properly. If they’re not, they might be making the room warmer.

— Avoid cooking. Instead, prepare cool, light meals and limit use of the stove and oven.

— Avoid operating major appliances during the day. Run dishwashers, washing machines and dryers at night and, if possible, dry your clothes outdoors.

— In the evening and overnight, when temperatures fall slightly, it is wise to open windows to allow cooler air to move in. For a more comfortable sleep, consider temporarily relocating to a cooler part of the home.

— Use cooler water to bathe, which will keep your body’s temperature down and won’t add unnecessary heat to the home.

— To reduce the amount of hot air entering your home, look into air sealing. Use caulk and weather stripping on all doors and windows that leak air.

— Turning off the lights may help, but it is a low priority when it comes to mitigating heat in a room, said Bob Ward, the deputy chair of the London Climate Change Partnership. “If you have lots of lights around you, close to you, then it can kind of warm up the air near you,” he said. However, he noted that lighting is a relatively minor contribution to the temperature of rooms.

— Before turning your lights back on, take a closer look at your bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs, those distinctive glass orbs with glowing wire centers, produce a lot of heat. Switching to energy-efficient light bulbs might keep your home cooler and help you reduce energy costs.

© 2022 The New York Times Company

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Living Without Air Conditioning? Here’s How to Stay Cooler at Home. – Yahoo News

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