The long, hot summers of India are quite unforgiving and you can’t survive the hot and humid months without the blessed air conditioners. But this option is neither budget-friendly, nor environment-friendly. Plus, it’s not very healthy to breathe the dry and recycled air pushed in by the air conditioners.
So is there an alternative, do you wonder? Because one can’t possible swelter in the heat and still manage to lead a decently productive life. We agree. And that’s why we have listed here 14 natural ways to keep your house cool without depending on artificial cooling machines. That sounds holistic, doesn’t it? Now let us take a look.
I. Get aluminized blinds or insulated curtains
for your windows. Also go around the house and drape sheets all over the exterior. These makeshift exterior curtains will keep the sun’s heat away from your windows but the breeze will be blowing if you wish to keep the windows open.
II. Leave a few windows open after sunset
, so that the cooler night air would be blowing throughout the evening. Also, leave all the internal doors open. You may also want to open the closets and the kitchen cabinets as well, as they store the daytime heat and your house won’t cool off as much at night. Be sure to close the windows and the blinds as soon as the sun hits your house.
III. Manage your appliances
. Incandescent light bulbs also create heat. So switch to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Turn off your lamps and computers when you are not using them. You should also turn off your TV since it emits a lot of heat. And the same goes for some plug-in power adapters.
IV. Avoid using too much water during the hot hours of the day
as the temperature of the water in the overhead tanks rises and produces steam when let out. It creates humidity in your house, which only leads to a hotter and a stickier condition. During the day, don’t take a shower or wash dishes/clothes or cook or water the plants. Wait till it is dark.
V. Use smooth white linen to cover your beds and upholstery.
Use light-colored cotton bedspreads and throw white fabrics over your sofas during the day since the upholstery fabrics are thick and make you sweaty. Light-colored fabric will reflect the heat instead of absorbing it, and the smooth texture will give you an impression of coolness.
If it’s windy outside, you can create a breeze inside your home by strategically opening your windows. When the wind blows against a building, it creates a high-pressure area on the side where it hits and a low-pressure area on the opposite side. As the wind naturally moves from the high pressure area to the low pressure one, opening the windows on both sides of your home will allow the air to move through the house, creating a breeze.
VII. Be smart with your landscaping.
Strategically placed trees, shrubs and vines can easily cool a home. Plant shady trees and shrubs on east and west sides to block the sun. Grow vines up the sidewalls to shade them from the hot sunshine. Also plant leafy groundcovers to cool the area around your home.
VIII. Keep the refrigerator door closed.
While opening the refrigerator door for a cool blast of air sounds good and may cool you off for a short while, it’s actually counterproductive when it comes to cooling off your home. The motor in the refrigerator needs to work harder to maintain a constant temperature and ends up generating more heat.
IX. Paint your roof white.
In much the same way the ice/snow reflects UV rays instead of absorbing the heat like the oceans do, cities are now giving white roofs a second look for cooling homes and fighting climate change. So paint your terrace and roof white to reflect heat.
X. Invest in a dehumidifier.
Humidity is the real villain in the summer months. All the natural cooling methods will work much better if humidity can be turned down. A dehumidifier is a low cost yet extremely effective gadget to take care of that.
XI. Be strategic with room fans.
If you thought fans are there for blowing the hot air around, think again! Point the box fans out towards the windows, so that they can push the hot air out. Also, adjust the ceiling fan settings, so that the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of just twirling it around the room.
XII. Make a DIY air conditioner
by positioning a shallow pan or bowl (a roasting pan works nicely) full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the surface of the ice as it melts, creating a cooling mist.
XIII. Stay away from the stove.
Chow down on cool, room-temperature dishes to avoid generating any more heat in the house. If hot food is in order, fire up the grill, instead of turning on the oven. Microwaves work better than stoves and oven to heat food.
XIV. Get creative with grains.
Rice and buckwheat aren’t just for eating! They can also keep you cool on hot nights. Stock up on buckwheat pillows, which don’t absorb the heat like cotton and down. As for a cold compress on really hot nights, fill a sock with rice, tie it off, and put it in the freezer for an hour or so. The compress will stay chilly for up to 30 minutes, definitely enough time to doze off.