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AC Tips for Extreme Heat: How to Keep Your Home Cool

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We all know how hot summer temperatures can get. But, do you know the highest temperature ever recorded in the world? The answer is 134 degrees Fahrenheit back in 1913 at California’s Death Valley. The second was 131 degrees Fahrenheit in 1931 at Kebili in Tunisia. In Europe, it was 119.8 degrees Fahrenheit in Sicily in 2021. Now, imagine that our typical summer temperatures rarely exceed 81 degrees Fahrenheit nowadays. Yet, it often feels like you are living in the oven. There are simple steps you can take to keep the house cool. You can reduce energy bills quite a bit with some of these ideas. We will also share some noteworthy AC tips for extreme heat.

1. Draw the Curtains

Treat the heat like an enemy you do not want inside your house. That means looking for ways to keep it out as much as possible. An effective way to do so is to draw the curtains or keep the shades down. It may surprise you how much cooler your house will be during the day.  

Be careful about heat stroke if you live in very humid areas. The body cannot cool down because the sweat does not evaporate as fast as it would in dry areas. In that case, you should run the AC even when indoors. The whole house fan may not be very effective during a heat wave. 

An AC uses liquid refrigerant to absorb indoor heat. The system’s blower fan then pumps the cooled air back into the room. To get the most out of your cooling system, it is important to maintain it properly. Some of the AC tips for extreme heat include:

  • Raising the thermostat temperatures when the house is vacant to economize on energy.
  • Keep up with the AC maintenance, so it doesn’t have to work too hard to cool the home. If it does, your energy bills will go up quite significantly.
  • Using the fan mode in the AC at night as a way of conserving energy.
  • Ensuring air filter replacement every 25 to 30 days for better quality indoor air.

Research shows that more than 1,300 people die every year due to extreme heat. Stress from very high temperatures can lead to heart attacks, respiratory illnesses, heat stroke, and more.

2. Ice In Front Of Fan Trick

Now is the time to put your freezer to good use. You will need plenty of ice in bottles or bowls. Place them in front of a running fan and let the cool-down begin. The fan will help circulate the cold icy air from the melting ice through the room. 

If you don’t have enough ice, hang a wet sheet near a window. The hot air coming in will become cool due to the moisture in the sheet. You can take it a step further and spray the blinds or curtains with cold water.

A cabin lit up with outdoor lights against a dark night sky.

3. Use Natural Cooling At Night

Temperatures will drop quite a bit in the evening and during the night. Now is the time to open your windows and use natural cooling to keep extreme heat away. 

Invest in mosquito nets on window screens to keep the bugs out. Dealing with the heat is stressful enough without having pesky mosquitoes buzzing around when trying to sleep. 

Evenings would also be an excellent time to use the whole house fan. The fan will pull in the cool outdoor air and circulate it within the room. If you run it during the day, the air that it will be circulating will be too hot. That is why we said the fan might not be the best solution during a heat wave. But, in the evening and night, the outdoor temperatures are cooler.

4. Save On Dryer Expenses

Give your dryer a break during the heatwave. Instead, hang the wet clothes inside the house. You can do it when everyone is out of the home during the day. Investing in a clothes rack can give you a place to put the wet laundry. That way, you don’t drape them over the chairs. 

The evaporation of the water will lower the room temperature. Please leave a window or two open so that the moisture can escape. 

5. Reduce the Number of Electrical Appliances You Use

You may not think too much about how much heat your appliances generate. Take the example of the oven, fridge, iron box, and TV. Others are incandescent and halogen lights. 

True, you can’t do without them altogether. But they do contribute to higher indoor temperatures. Consider minimizing their use as much as possible. 

If you must bake, for example, do so in the evening when the outdoor temperatures are cooler. That way, the whole house fan can remove the hot air that escapes whenever you open the oven door. 

Don’t leave the lights on when no one is in the room. This way, you save on energy bills and prevent extreme heat in the house. Also, use energy-efficient lighting like low-heat LED bulbs.

6. Showering Tips to Keep the House Cool

You love your hot shower and will take one even during the sweltering summer heat. But, every minute you spend in the shower contributes to the heat in the house. So, consider shorter showers using cool instead of super-hot water. You get the added benefit of reducing humidity in the home as well. 

Run the exhaust fan in your bathroom while showering. Keep it on for some time afterward as well. You want to remove any residual heat and humidity.  

And no, this is not the right time for a hot soak in the bathtub. The reasons above apply. Unless, of course, you are willing to try a cold water soak.

7. Cooking During a Heat Wave

We already shared a tip above about baking in the evening. But there’s more you can do. Reduce the number of times you open the oven door to check whatever you are baking. You can always see the interior through the glass door. Once the timer goes off, give the oven a few minutes to cool down before opening the door. That way, you reduce the heat that goes into the air.

Cover pots to reduce the humidity from whatever you are cooking. Finally, enjoy family time by embracing the use of the outdoor space in the evening. Now is the perfect time to test your grilling skills.

8. Block out the Sun

You are fortunate to have huge windows that let in plenty of sunlight. But, they can feel more like a big mistake in the sweltering heat. The sun’s rays find their way into the house, making it feel like you are living in an oven. And let’s not forget the sun’s harmful impact on your furniture. Long-term exposure will result in fading, thus the expense of having to replace them.  

Consider using window treatments to block out the sunlight. There are tons of ideas that will blend in beautifully with your existing decor. Long-term solutions like shutters and awnings are also available. 

many plants at home in front of large window

9. Stock Up On Houseplants

Houseplants are wonderful for their aesthetic value. In fact, they make the house look great without having to spend a lot of money. But, there is another critical function you will get out of them in the sweltering heat.  

You may hear reference to plants as natural air conditioners, and indeed they are. Like humans, plants transpire, thus releasing moisture into the atmosphere through the stomata or leaf spores. Consider it very much like the process of sweating. The evaporation removes heat from the air, thus contributing to the cooling of the air.  

Some of the best indoor plants for a cooling effect are snake plants, rubber plants, weeping figs, and Chinese evergreen. The trick is to have succulent or high water content plants. The larger the leaves and the bushier the foliage, the better. 

10. Deciduous Trees for a Cooling Effect

You can also consider deciduous trees near the house. Such trees shed their leaves at the end of their growing period. So, in winter, the leafless trees will not prevent sunlight from entering the house. 

But in summer, they will have thick foliage, which will block out rays. You also get the extra benefit of the expiration we described with houseplants. Through the evaporation, they will keep the air around the house cool. You will notice a much cooler effect in and around the house. 

Final Thoughts

As we have shared above, there are many ways to cool your house during a heat wave. What you will love is that some of the ideas are pretty simple to implement. 

Our AC tips for extreme heat will keep your system in good working order.  And, you get the added benefit of keeping down your energy costs. 

As a final note, please drink plenty of water to ensure proper hydration. You don’t even need to stick to water only. Hot tea or coffee cools your body faster by counteracting the heat. By raising your core body temperature, you sweat more, thus better cooling.

Remember, heatstroke is a real possibility when the temperatures are very high. You will notice fatigue, headaches, and overall lethargy. Cooling your home is an excellent move, but don’t neglect yourself in the process.

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