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As another record-breaking heat wave takes hold across the U.S., millions are struggling to keep themselves cool and comfortable at home. While many people rely on air conditioning to avoid the heat, not everyone has that luxury. And even for those that do, high utility prices may limit the ability to keep those machines running.
It may seem impossible to cool down a room without air conditioning. However, relief from the heat is possible without one. These easy-to-implement tips can help you keep temperatures inside your home manageable.
Keep Air Moving with Fans
Fans can be an effective line of defense against the heat. Electric fans help keep the air moving in homes and keep you cool by evaporating sweat from your skin, which leads to cooling relief.
There are a variety of fans on the market to choose from. Combining one or more will be the most efficient and effective way to lower your room’s temperature.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, ceiling fans can help make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler while only using 10% of the energy necessary to run central air conditioning.
Tip: Make sure you have your fan blades running in a counterclockwise direction, which allows the fan to pull up cooler air that often exists closer to the floor and move it around the room.
Need a new ceiling fan? The 52-inch Hunter Cassius Ceiling Fan is marked down 21% at Amazon right now.
A window fan is an inexpensive and effective way to cool down a room. Use two window fans to maximize cooling, such as a twin-window fan or regular box fans. One will draw air into the home, while the other pulls hot air out.
Pedestal fans offer portability and affordability. They come in various sizes, from small desktop fans priced as low as $7.99 to more expensive variations that tower up to almost 4 feet tall, like this $69.99 Dreo Nomad One.
Keep Curtains, Drapes and Shades Closed
According to the Department of Energy, 76% of sunlight that enters homes via double-pane windows becomes heat, which means that having the right window coverings will make a huge difference.
Quality curtains, drapes and shades can block sunlight from coming in, reducing the heat in the room — particularly during peak sunlight hours, when you should keep them closed.
What type of window coverings are best? Blackout curtains in a “medium” color with a white plastic backing can reduce summer heat gain by a third, according to the Department of Energy. Try something like these Linen Blackout Curtains from Amazon to get you started.
You can also try window heat-blocking film, only $13.99 on Amazon. This is a peel-and-stick translucent film that you apply directly to your window to reflect UV light away from your home, which reduces heat.
Be Mindful of When Your Windows Are Open
In addition to having a proper window covering, you’ll also want to know when to open and close your windows.
As much as you might want some fresh air in the house during the day, avoid opening them during peak sunlight hours. At night when the temperatures are lower, keep the windows open and keep that cool air in by closing them in the morning.
Use a Dehumidfier
Thanks to the high humidity level in many parts of the country, the temperature often feels hotter outside than it really is. That’s because moist air limits our ability to sweat, the body’s natural cooling system.
The same principle holds in our homes. If the humidity is high inside, we tend to feel warmer. A simple solution is to use a dehumidifier.
You can find dehumidifiers such as the Frigidaire 35-pint Dehumidifier for individual rooms all the way up to whole-home models.
MORE: The best dehumidifier
Make Your Bed a Cool Oasis
Getting a good night’s sleep can feel like an elusive dream on hot nights. But you can make your bed a comfortable retreat with the proper bed coverings.
Cooling comfort starts down at the mattress pad or topper made of a breathable material that allows proper airflow when you sleep.
Next, you’ll want to look at lightweight 100% cotton, such as these California Design cotton sheets, or bamboo-blend fabric bedding, both of which promote moisture wicking to allow the body to self-regulate its core temperature.
MORE: The best cooling pillows
In the heat of summer, you also don’t want a lot of layers on your bed. Each layer will hold in heat, making your body feel warmer. Try a cooling weighted blanket, which provides the soothing sensation of having more covers but without the heat-promoting impact. Get one on Amazon for only $27.99 right now.
Enjoy a Contrast Shower
We’ve all heard of taking a cool shower to feel better during the heat. But some experts believe a contrast shower may be a better option for long-term relief from uncomfortable temperatures. One study showed that a contrast shower taken 1 to 2 hours before bed maximizes the brain’s release of melatonin, which leads to a better night’s sleep.
A contrast shower alternates between warm/hot water and cool/cold water at set intervals. The pivot between the cold and warm water allows easier blood flow throughout the body. Not only does this help with easing muscle tension, but it also promotes the gradual decrease of your body’s core temperature compared to a cold shower.
Without the harshness of constant cold water, you can make your home shower into a spa-like experience. Pamper yourself with a new multi-function showerhead, available on Amazon for just $39.99.