With triple-digit temperatures and high humidity levels continuing this week, so, too are Excessive Heat Warnings in Central Texas.
For those without air conditioning or navigating a broken A/C, here are some tips for cooling your home amid the sweltering heat.
Close your drapes, blinds
Any sunlight entering your apartment or home will bring heat with it, so keeping your drapes or blinds closed during the summertime can mitigate any excess heat from entering your home. Reporting from the U.S. Department of Energy found medium-colored drapes with white-plastic backings on your windows can reduce heat gains by 33%.
Run a ceiling fan
Ceiling fans are your best friend in the Texas summer heat in terms of helping regulate your house or apartment’s internal temperature. Pro tip: Experts recommend setting your blades to run counterclockwise in the summer in order to collect and push cool air into the rest of the room.
And your wallet will thank your ceiling fan too: Running a ceiling fan can help cool down a room by up to 10°, while using roughly 10% of the energy use of a central air conditioner, according to research from the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Create a DIY air conditioner
For those with a standing or box fan, you can finesse your own A/C unit. Some methods include hanging a cold, wet sheet in front of a plan, placing a large bowl full of ice cubes in front of it or attaching some frozen water bottles to the back of it, per Real Simple.
Close off doors to unused rooms
If you’re not spending much of the day in certain parts of your home, closing the doors to them minimizes the amount of space cool air needs to travel to, instead allowing it to concentrate in a designated area.
Install shade resources outside home, apartment
Not everyone has the benefit of natural vegetation and trees to provide some shade to their home. However, awnings and canopies can be installed and offer a similar reprieve. The U.S. Department of Energy found fixed or retractable awnings can reduce solar heat by up to 65% on south-facing windows or 77% on west-facing windows.
Cook meals outside or opt for no-cook options
It’s not surprising that cooking inside your home ticks up the temperature. During blistering summer days, the last thing you want to do is preheat an oven to 425° — especially if you lack an A/C or yours is broken.
Instead, grilling outdoors can allow you to whip up a delicious cooked meal without attracting more heat into your home. If you don’t want to go stand outside to grill — which, let’s be real here, I don’t blame you for that — invest in some cold salads or sandwich recipes to craft up.
Unplug unused electronics
Any power strips, appliances or phone chargers plugged inside of your home help draw in heat via the electrical sockets. Any appliances or strips not in use should be unplugged to eliminate any energy waste and added heat.