The sun, the sun, it's blinding my Pacific Northwest eyes! It looks like summer decided to come late to us this year and while it's not going to be as hot as some of the weeks we've had in the past we are heading into some warmer weather. I know this may seem a bit late for this kind of post, but I don't control when we get the heat.
Personally I'm not a big fan of the heat. One of the reasons I got out of Yakima was so I didn't have to deal with the crazy hot summers anymore. However it did teach me some good tips on how to keep the house cool without resorting to air conditioning.
One of the things I've noticed about folks that live over here on the Westside of the mountains is that most people don't know how to properly cool off their houses. There are a few key things you can do to keep your house cool and comfortable for when you want to come back inside from the heat.
1) Open up the house at night.
This may seem like common sense, but as I've looked around my neighborhood I see lots of closed windows at night. If it's too cold for you, get more blankets for the bed. Use that cool night air to bring down the temperature of your house so you can trap it inside. Besides you'll probably sleep better with it cool inside and you all snuggled up warm in bed.
2) Close up at the house by mid morning or when you leave for work.
This is the one that most people mess up on. They leave their houses open all day long thinking that it will be cooler. All this does is make it just as warm on the inside of the house as it is outside and often will be warmer. One of the things we do when we get up to get ready for work is open up the doors to let the air in through the screen doors and turn our fans on. I also switch the ceiling fan to suck air in instead of pushing it around. When you get ready to leave the house for the day or it becomes mid morning (10 a.m.) shut all the windows, doors and close all your blinds. Basically keep the sun out of the house. Turn the ceiling fan back to pushing air around and strategically place other fans to make sure cool air is circulated around the area you want to stay cool in.
3) Go easy on electronics and lights.
You know that giant TV you have? It pumps out a lot of heat.Try this: At the end of the night before you turn off your TV put your hand behind it. You'll probably feel quite a bit of heat being generated from the back and from the screen. Try to limit TV time during the day so it doesn't add heat to the house. Switch and watch something on the laptop. It puts out heat, but not nearly as much as the TV. If you do laundry dry your clothes outside (smells great!) or wait until the evening to dry them in the dryer. One final thing is the lights. Keep them turned off or only have a couple on. They put out a bunch of heat as well.
4) Open back up.
At the end of the day or when your house finally reaches the same temperature as outside, open up the house. It may be just as hot inside as outside but opening up the house will get rid of the stuffiness of the day and a nice cross breeze will help things feel a little cooler.
5) If all else fails drink beer.
I'm a beer lover so I take any chance I get to drink beer! Sometimes you can't really do anything if it gets too hot so just sit back and relax with your favorite beer.