Sustainability: how to keep your house, yourself and your pets cool in the heat of summer
Keep your house cool this summer with these life and home hacks that will save you money.
Despite with Florence and the Machine may think, the dogs days are not over. Infact, it sounds like we’re in for a hot, sweaty summer – us and most of Europe.
With heatwaves sweeping through Europe, keeping ourselves cool and our pets can prove to be one of our most crafty goals over the next few months. And you can do this while being kind to the environment at the same time.
We’ve all been there, wanting to crank up the air conditioning and forget about your energy bill repercussions. But besides the high bills, it's important to also remember that it takes a lot of energy to cool houses in summer and this is a large factor of that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Keeping your home cool
Close your blinds
Keeping your blinds closed will help to block out the sun and heat and prevent your home from heating up. If you want to go the extra mile, invest in some black-out curtains that shield your home and your furniture from the rays of the strong summer sun.
Use fans and ceiling fans to cool down the room
Positioning your fan correctly for optimum cooling is important. Fans can annoyingly blow the same hot air around a room. Consider positioning the fan towards an open window so that it circulates cool air. Another trick – if we’re thick in the midst of a typical Maltese summer heatwave – is to leave a large bowl of ice in front of the fan and it should work like a makeshift air conditioner.
Invest in house plants
At QuickLets and Zanzi Homes, we always advocate of filling homes with plants and our country with trees. But did you know there’s the added benefit of keeping your house cool? (What?! We know, they’re just all round brilliant!) Plants generate moisture in the atmosphere and they create a natural cooling effect through a process of transpiration. The best plants for this are peace lilies and rubber plants as they work best in humid conditions. So house plants will not only make your home happier, boost your mood but also cool your home – just don’t forget to water them as needed.
Change your lightbulbs
Do you still have candescent lightbulbs hanging around in your home? If you’ve tried other hacks and still can’t cool your home, these lightbulbs may be to blame. These old-school lightbulbs don’t just waste extra energy, but increase your energy bill, they also produce a lot of heat so switch to energy-saving light bulbs to cool your home and decrease your energy bills – double whammy!
Keeping yourself cool
Crank up the chill
If you have long hair, keep it wet as this keeps your head and neck cool. Sip on icy-cold drinks and keep a damp cloth on your neck and other pressure points like wrists. Lower your body temperature before going to bed by running the cold water and placing your feet and wrists under it. If you’re boiling, cold showers can also cool your body temperature and help you avoid needing to crank up the AC – again helping with your energy bill and saving you from nasty ac-induced coughs and colds. Scientists also found that this helps better sleep.
Turn your hot water bottle into a freezer block
If you’re looking to keep it at night, grab your hot water bottle and freeze it. Fill the bottle with water and freeze it for a few hours. Then place it at the bottom of the bed.
Keeping your dog cool
Plan your dog walks during the cooler hours of the day
Plan your walks to ensure you are not outside in the thickest summer heat. Can you set your alarm for an early morning walk or perhaps brace for the evening cooler air? Dogs are not able to cope with the heat as well as humans, especially on our black tarmac roads that can burn their little paws. For little pooches who already have low tolerance, would it be better to do some stimulating activities at home? Check the weather before heading out and take regular breaks in the shade.
Never leave your dog in the car on a hot day
Even if it’s a quick pop into the post office, your dog could suffer a heat stroke if left alone in a hot car – especially if your quick errand overruns. Even if the car is parked in the shade with the window open, the dog can start to feel distressed and again suffer heat stroke. Would it be better to leave your dog at home in his own comfort with plenty of food and water, instead of taking him out on a hot day?
Protect your dog’s paws from hot surfaces
Some people might think this is OTT – and admittedly may look a bit ridiculous on a rottweiler – but it’s not just hot tarmac that can burn a dog’s feet. Even hot sand can burn your dog’s paws. You could invest in a pair of dog paw covers to protect them. Or you could stick to grassy or shaded areas instead.