As much as we all love summer in the Philippines, it can literally feel hellish sometimes. PAGASA says Metro Manila hit an all-time high of 36.5 degrees Celsius this month, and even hotter days still lay ahead. Unfortunately, conventional cooling methods like air conditioning tend to rack up electricity charges, which often force people to do without, downing halo-halo and fanning themselves like crazy instead.
The good news is there are actually a number of things you can do to lower the temperature in your home, while also keeping a cool head (low electricity bill equals low temper, get it?). Try these measures and see which ones work best for you.
1. Skip the additional air conditioning unit and go with a ceiling fan instead. Although it uses less energy than A/C, a ceiling fan can bring a room’s temperature up to 7 degrees lower because it circulates air around the house.
2. The culprit behind extreme temperatures in the house is, you guessed it, heat. Keep the heat out by hanging up white drapes, curtains and blinds, which reflect heat away from you. Also, make sure to keep them and the windows that face direct sunlight closed during the day.
3. When night comes, open the windows to let the daytime heat out and the evening’s cooler air in.
4. Air conditioning works twice as hard when the room is too hot, so keep the door to the room closed. Also, check all windows to make sure no cool air is seeping out.
5. Here’s a “bright” idea: swap your incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent lights, which give off the same amount of light while using less power and generating less heat. Be sure to keep the lights off when you’re not using them, too.
6. Appliances can generate heat too, so minimize your use of televisions and computers as much as possible (or for as long as you can hold off watching variety shows or checking your Facebook updates).
7. Before you crank up the A/C, look at what you’re wearing (and not for the sake of fashion). If you’ve got enough clothes on to beat an Eskimo, shed any excess layers and opt for lightweight fabric like cotton, silk, or linen.
8. When showering, open the window to let heat and humidity out instead of letting it back into the house. You don’t want to put on a show, though, so make sure the curtain is drawn.
9. If you only have an electric fan and would rather keep your A/C off, you can make the air in your home cooler with a little science. Freeze a bottle filled with a combination of water and rock salt and place it in front of your electric fan. As the salt water melts, the air around it stays cool, and the fan will blow it towards you. Re-freeze and repeat.
10. Now you have a reason to procrastinate: chores like cooking and ironing can also make you feel warmer in the day because of the heat they generate, so it’s better to do them during the evening.
Bonus tip: Plan ahead by planting trees on the side of your home that gets direct sunlight the most so you’ll have extra shade when they’re fully grown.
With these techniques, there’s no need to suffer through the unbearable summer heat just to give your wallet a break. Taking the time and effort to make these adjustments around your home can allow you to go about your daily activities much more comfortably (and eat halo-halo purely for the pleasure of it).
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