Here are some common sense ways to stay cool during these dog days of summer and our record making temperatures.
Stay hydrated-drink at least a cup of water every half hour. Avoid caffeine soft drinks and alcohol, for these make you more thirsty, despite advertising to the contrary.
Cook outside to avoid heat in the kitchen and humidity in the house- small, light meals spaced throughout the day will make you more comfortable, too. But remember the burn ban. Don't fire up the charcoal grill.
Dress for the heat-wear shorts and a light, loose fitting shirt. Go barefoot when possible or wear sandals. Wear natural fabrics, not hotter synthetics, and at night, sleep on cotton sheets.
If heat becomes oppressive, dowse your head with water, take a cool shower, or spritz yourself with a spray bottle of cool water that you keep handy. If you don’t have a bottle, dip cloths in cool water and wrap around your neck, wrists and ankles. Heat strokes still happen!
Remember shade. stay in it if possible. Plant trees and vines outside, and shade the OUTSIDE of your windows with roll-up shades or even auto sun shades taped together. What you want to do is keep the sunshine outside on hot days.
Shade the compressors on your air conditioner with awnings of some kind, too.
If you don’t have air conditioning, ventilate your house and keep it closed up during the day until the temperature on the inside is the same as outside. Then open the widows and doors, preferable ones that are shaded. At night, put box fans in the south and west windows to pull hot air out of the hours, and fans in the east and north windows to draw in cooler air. Open every window and door to facilitate cross breezes, and close up the house in the morning until the temperature inside is the same as the temperature outside.
Keep air moving inside with fans, even if you have air conditioning because you will feel 10 degrees cooler in moving air and will be able to set your thermostat higher.
Minimize heat buildup inside the house. 1)if you have a dishwasher, don’t use the heated drying cycle;2) avoid using clothes dryers; 3)take cool showers 4)unplug electronic devices when not in use for they not only leech energy when not in use, they also produce heat. Use an electrical outlet strip that allows you to turn off devices when not in use.
Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs, and save money, too.
There are other energy conservation ideas at www.energyconservationinfo.org
In the meantime, stay cool.