10 ways to keep your home cool and comfortable during summer
Beat the heat with these helpful tips and tricks.
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Being from the Northeast, I’m used to the charming duality of record-low winters and scorching-hot summers. That, combined with living in homes without central air conditioning for the majority of my youth, has made me somewhat of a pseudo-specialist when it comes to regulating the house temperature and staying cool throughout the summer.
When it comes to dressing for hot weather, the old saying rings true: When you’re cold, you can always add on layers like clothing and blankets; when you’re hot, there’s only so much you can take off. Luckily, when it comes to your home, there are plenty of ways to keep it cool—some of which may come as a surprise (even for this seasoned New Englander). Here are 10 ways to maintain a comfortable home during those sometimes unbearable hot summer months and the top-tested products you need to do so.
1. Limit the use of appliances
We know, we know. It’s easier said than done to not use our modern luxuries. But when the temperature starts to rise, you’ll probably be glad to give your dishwasher a break for some much-needed heat relief. Constantly running kitchen appliances, washers, and dryers produces quite a bit of heat, so reducing the number of times they’re used will make a noticeable difference in your home’s overall temperature. If your appliances are relatively quiet (like our pick for the best dishwasher for 2021), try running them at night when temperatures typically drop.
2. Try light-blocking curtains
The majority of heat in a home comes from the sun shining through windows and beaming down on you. To limit the amount of sunlight peeking through, invest in some high-quality blackout curtains. Great for the bedroom or living room, these curtains from Nicetown are made from triple-weave blackout fabric which balances room temperature and insulates against heat and even sound. There are 18 different colors to choose from, and they have nearly 35,000 reviews and a 4.8-star rating on Amazon for their ability to darken a room in broad daylight.
3. Switch out your incandescent bulbs
Incandescent lights are slowly becoming a thing of the past for their terrible energy efficiency (they waste 90% of the energy they use!) that also makes your home much warmer than it should be. Just think about how hot those bulbs get. To remedy this, double-check bulbs and see if you’ve got any hanging around. If so, replace them with CFL or LED lights, both of which are more energy-efficient and can make a difference in keeping your home a lot cooler. As an added bonus, they’ll even lower your electric bill.
4. Use a cooling mattress
It’s no secret that a cooler sleep is a better sleep, but if you don’t have the right mattress you might end up with a restless slumber and sweating through your PJs. Not ideal. Enter the Original Mattress from Tuft & Needle, which is made with two layers of open-cell foam and cooling gel, literally pulling heat away from your body as you sleep. It’s the best mattress we’ve ever tested for this reason, as well as its unmatched comfort for sweet dreams no matter what the temperature is.
5. Add a pergola to your patio
Yes, a pergola is an outside accessory, but it can have a big effect on your home’s temperature. If placed on a patio close to the house, a pergola can provide shade and block warm rays from penetrating any nearby windows or sliding doors. Along with being aesthetically pleasing, this one specifically is made from steel and is both weather- and rust-resistant so you can keep it out throughout the seasons.
6. Use a cooling pillow
Tired of flipping your pillow over to the cool side multiple times throughout the night? That’s all in the past now with our experts’ favorite pillow. This cooling pillow from Coop Home Goods is made with gel-infused memory foam and a microfiber fill blend. Its outside case is Lulltra fabric, which is bamboo-derived viscose rayon and polyester, giving this pillow ultimate breathability. You can also adjust the amount of fill to your preferred fluffiness. It’s also machine washable, in case you do sweat all over it.
7. Try a standing fan to circulate airflow
Instead of actually cooling down a room, lots of fans just recirculate the hot air over and over again. Gross. But with the bladeless Dyson Pure Cool Tower, the air is actually cleaned and cooled, offering 350-degree oscillation for total room coverage. With its Air Multiplier technology, this fancy fan purifies the air in your space. You can select between a diffused or more focused airflow. Reviewers love how quiet it is, in addition to its sleek appearance and overall quality.
8. Install bathroom shades
When long curtains just won’t do in rooms like the bathroom, opt for blackout or semi-blackout cordless blinds instead. Not only are they easy to install, but they offer light-blocking cooling effects while keeping things modern and stylish. During the cooler months, you can raise them up with a simple push or quickly lower them for some privacy. These honeycomb shades keep out 99% of incoming light and come in 10 shades (pun intended), so they’ll fit perfectly with any color scheme.
9. Plant shady trees
Naturally, one of the best ways to maintain a semblance of shade is by adding trees into your surrounding yard. Trees block the hot sunlight that would otherwise be beating down on your home’s shingles, siding, and windows, plus they add some nice curb appeal to your home. The best shade trees are typically oak and maple, which grow quickly as well (from 3 feet to 5 feet on a yearly basis).
10. Make more use of your grill
When it’s hot outside, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stove or pull a dish from a blazing oven. Keep meals simple (and your home cooler) by utilizing your outdoor grill for more meals. The Weber Spirit II, specifically, is the best gas grill we’ve ever tested, namely for its ability to vent smoke and heat away from your face. That way you stay cool even when the temps are high. Even better, it has a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer that can send grilling alerts to your smartphone while you take respite under a pergola or inside.
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