Summer is barely started and we are already immersed in yet another extreme heat warning here in Ontario.
While the province gets busy opening public cooling centres, many individuals who haven’t yet invested in air conditioning for their homes and workplaces are facing the prospect of an uncomfortable several days.
Some people who do have air conditioning are also choosing not to use their A/C due to rumours that air currents could facilitate the spread of COVID-19 (more information on in our recent blog),
When temperatures get this high, the more immediate danger may be the threat of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, however, which can be lethal in their own right.
Whether you don’t have air conditioning or are choosing to switch your A/C off due to coronavirus fears, these tips will help you keep cool as the summer heat increases.
1. Turn on a fan to lower the temperature by 4 degrees.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, just turning on a ceiling fan or floor fan will create a feeling that the temperature has dropped by around four degrees.
If you are using ceiling fans that have a seasonal switch, be sure the switch is turned to the summer setting. If you stand underneath the fan and feel a strong breeze, it is on the correct setting.
You can set up floor fans to create a useful cross-breeze. Set up one fan to blow hot air out of the room and the other fan to circulate the remaining air inside the room.
Extra Cooling Tip: Place a bucket of ice in front of a floor fan or underneath a ceiling fan. As the air blows over the ice, it will lift some of the evaporating cool in the air and carry it towards you, cooling the air as it passes over you.
2. Wear loose, breathable, natural fibre clothing.
All-cotton clothing is a great choice when the weather gets hot. Cotton is called a “breathable fabric” because it absorbs moisture, keeping your skin dry up to a certain point.
While cotton is not ideal if you plan to work out – as after that “certain point” it may become saturated with moisture (sweat) – if you are at home you can actually wear wet cotton! As it evaporates, you will begin to feel cooler.
The same holds true for the sheets you use on your bed. You want to choose cotton or a similar breathable natural fibre fabric that absorbs moisture from your body so you stay cool throughout the night.
3. Draw the blinds to keep the sun out.
Window treatments are useful for more than just making a room look more visually appealing. They can block out light, which in turn blocks out heat.
By keeping the shades, curtains or blinds drawn inside your home, you repel the heat as well as the light. This is an effective cost-saving technique if you run your A/C and a handy way to feel cooler even if you don’t.
4. Avoid generating additional heat inside your home.
Cooking, doing laundry, running the dishwasher, taking a hot bath or shower – all these activities can add heat to your indoor space, driving up your energy bills and increasing your summer time discomfort.
If you do need to do a load of laundry, choose cold water to save energy and avoid generating extra heat.
For a cooked meal, try a slow cooker or grill outdoors. Alternately, switch to salads for summer.
5. Keep the lights off and devices unplugged.
When it gets as hot as it is projected to get in the next few days, you really want to avoid adding to it.
Many light fixtures don’t just add light to a room – they add heat as well. If you feel heat when you stand next to a light fixture, this is a clue it is time to switch out the light bulb (or donate that light fixture).
Similarly, you can not only trim your energy bill by unplugging unused electronics, but you can also avoid adding incremental heat sources to your home when you unplug strategically.
6. Add a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air.
While it is true that a certain amount of moisture can help lubricate your airways and may even protect you against coronavirus, too much humidity can cause you to overheat and put you at risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
A dehumidifier can help draw excess humidity out of the air so it feels cooler inside your home. This is an especially handy tip on humid days if you decide not to run your air conditioner or you don’t have A/C installed.
7. Drink cool drinks and wear a cooling neck/head band.
Fitness buffs often resort to fancy cooling bandanas, hats or towels when they are out and about in the summer heat.
But you can get the same effect without the price tag just by popping a damp towel or bandanna in the freezer and then draping it around your head and shoulders.
Alternately, jump in the shower under cold water for a minute or two.
To add to the effect, fix yourself an icy cold beverage to enjoy. This last is a smart idea for more reasons than just the internal thermostat reset. Drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated as a protection against heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Get in Touch With Shipton’s Heating and Cooling
HVAC, electrical and plumbing have all been deemed essential services during the stay at home order here in Ontario. Looking to install air conditioning this summer and need a quote? Give us a call at 1-905-549-4616 or visit us online. We service Hamilton and the surrounding areas.
Ready to take the (cold) plunge and invest in air conditioning or upgrade your HVAC? Do it this month and Shipton’s will donate $25 to the Hamilton Food Share program.