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Seems like everyone is complaining about one thing right now… the heat. Since I live in Phoenix I know a thing or two about keeping the house cool. When it’s 117 in the shade you figure out how to keep the heat out pretty quickly. Here’s how we do it in the desert.
Get an Air Conditioner. Obviously in Phoenix, everyone has central air. It’s needed to survive here. But if you don’t have central air you might want to consider a window air conditioner. Getting the right size unit for your space is critical. Too small and it won’t cool the space. Too large and it won’t be as effective at removing humidity. The smaller the unit the cheaper it will be and the less electricity it will consume. So you might want to consider putting it in a bedroom with the door closed. This will give you some relief from the heat without costing a bundle.
But AC unit or not, these tips will keep you a bit cooler this summer.
Keep windows covered. When it’s hot outside it’s best to keep the windows covered so the hot sun can’t shine in. Curtains and blinds are the normal way to do this but in extreme temperatures, you need to take extreme actions. In Phoenix, we tape tin foil to the window for a total blackout. If you want something that is more easily removable you can use cardboard cut to the size of the window. Another option if you are in the market is “sun screens” These are window screens, the kind that keeps bugs out when the window is open, but that have extra thick wires to provide extra sun-blocking power. Focus on your south and west-facing windows.
Fans. Ceiling fans move the air which will make it feel cooler. This means you can keep the air conditioner at a little higher temperature with the same level of comfort. Basically, they give you a little wind chill in the house.
Cooking outdoors. If you have the house cool try to keep it that way. Avoid heating up the oven and stove by cooking outdoors.
Keep lights off. If you’ve ever changed a lightbulb you know they get pretty hot. Keep those little heaters turned off and your house will be that much cooler.
Get out of the house. Go find fun summer activities to do outside of your house. You won’t need to keep the house as cool so you won’t need to spend as much electricity.
The following two aren’t quick fixes; but if you want some longer-term solutions here are some ideas.
Trees and bushes. Getting shade onto the house is a great way to keep the house cooler. Direct sun will heat up the outside walls and that heat will seep in. Trees on the south and west side of the house will provide the best heat-blocking power.
One story: Obviously this isn’t something that you can change once you live somewhere, but if you have a choice a one-story will be cooler than a two-story. If you are looking for an apartment the first floor will be cooler than the second floor. It will also be easier to keep a first-floor apartment cooler since the heat rises. Your heat will rise up to the apartment above you.
Stay cool my friends!