Keep Your House Cool This Summer

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It happens every year. Our bodies adjust to the cold and then the temperate months, and right when we think we've got our personal climate control down, summer is upon us. It almost always takes us by surprise, one minute we're shopping for scarves and mittens at the mall, and the next minute we're buying beach balls and dusting off the cooler. It's nice to throw on that short-sleeved t-shirt, load on the sunscreen and jump in the pool, but no one enjoys being stuck in a sweltering house during the summer. If you want to beat the heat, follow these tips to keep your house cool in the summer.

Create Cool Shade

Plant trees and large bushes in front of windows to block out the sun. You can find large potted plants at your local home improvement store or nursery. Choose plants that will grow as wide as they grow tall. Fruit trees will often have the greatest branch growth and largest leaves.

If you don't have much of a green thumb, you may want to opt for an awning. You can customize awnings to complement the colors of your house. Both manual and remote-controlled options are available. For harder to reach and larger windows, paying for awning installation is best. Whether you choose to go green or spring for the awning, you can get an outdoor jump on keeping the indoors cool.

Customize Your Summer Curtains

If you're finding it hard to fight the heat, and you haven't updated your window shades, now is the time! Aluminized blinds are the best option for protecting yourself from the sun. They reflect heat away from your windows and away from you. If you don't feel like springing for an expensive window upgrade, you can stick aluminum foil to the windows that receive the most sun exposure. Dark colored curtains are also a wise summer addition to your window frames. They block out rays and leave your room much shadier than lighter options.

Fans for a Cooler House

Room fans can be a great alternative to cash-draining air conditioners. Unfortunately, the really effective fans often sound like jet engines. Steer clear of industrial fans in common areas; they make it virtually impossible to carry on conversation or enjoy any television or music. Ceiling fans and floor fans are a great addition to any room that suffers from the summertime blues.

Properly Ventilate

If you find yourself suffocating in the heat, open up some windows and let in a breeze. If a breeze is nowhere to be found, you can hang clip-on fans from your windowsill, or set up a box fan in the open space.

Watch the Stove

If you have a gas stove, be wary of the pilot light. Make sure that it is set correctly; too much power could lead to excess heat in your home. Also, be sure to limit your use of the oven. They tend to produce a lot of heat and will quickly turn your kitchen into a furnace.

Stay Cool with Summer Treats

Keep cool with the right kind of treats, especially if you have kids in the house. Keeping your refrigerator and freezer stocked with the right kind of snacks is key. Ice cream is great, but cream-based products can often leave you feeling too full on a warm day. Opt for low-calorie, juice-based popsicles. Not only are they better for you, but they cool you down almost instantly. Homemade slushies and shaved ice are also a big hit for the summertime. Hand crank snow cone machines sell for less than $20 at most toy stores. Another best-kept-secret of the summertime foods is anything spicy. Cooking your family a meal with a bit of a kick, will help regulate their body temperatures, and increase their perspiration to keep them cool.

Cold Showers for the Summer

Don't underestimate the power of a good old cold shower. If you've been running around all day and want to feel a quick jolt of refreshment, try hopping in the bathtub or shower, and cooling yourself down.

Air Conditioning

Like it or not, your air conditioning system will be your best friend during a true scorcher of a summer. Just don't let yourself become dependent on it! Try monitoring your use to a certain part of the day, and never drop the temperature too low. Remember that you'll be paying the bill at the end of the month. Are all those luxurious air conditioned days worth that sucker punch to your bank account?

Whether you're enjoying a homemade snow cone or fanning yourself near an open window, there are several ways to cool down during a hot summer.

Last Updated: July 23, 2012
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for IdealHomeGarden.com.

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