It’s no secret that the city of Guelph is famous for its century-old buildings and homes. But while these stunning structures seem to be picture-perfect, they too have faults and flaws. You see, while these hot commodities certainly have value and desirableness going for them, they also have above average indoor temperatures thanks to the rising heat of summer. And unlike a new build that can rely on air conditioning, many of these older homes lack the modern coolness of central air conditioning. Even worse, because these homes were constructed at a time when you didn’t have AC, it can be costly for the current owners to outfit their homes with complete AC systems. But fear not. Even though central air is out of the question, there are still many ways to live comfortably in your home throughout the summer and beat the scorching heat.
For our argument’s sake, we’re going to assume that portable/window air conditioners are also out of the question. Whether it be because of the cost, noise, lack of a central location, etc. With that in mind, the following tips are simple home hacks you can do to create a cool environment in your home even when the temperature hits all-time highs.
Invest in proper curtains
Ok, this one might not technically be a “hack”, but choosing the right curtains and keeping them drawn throughout the day can have a significant effect on the internal temperature of your home. Blackout curtains are our recommendation as they do the best job to block out all sunlight, but any curtain that is thicker/darker than usual will do the trick too. By closing your curtains throughout the day, it blocks any sunlight from entering your home and heating it up— essentially creating a greenhouse out of the room. In fact, up to 40% of unwanted heat in your home comes from the windows*.
Keep Your Lights Off
Believe it or not, lightbulbs contribute a lot of heat to your home—especially when there’s many on at once. So when it comes to home hacks to keep your house cool, they don’t get much easier than just keeping your lights turned off. Not to mention, it’ll save you some money on your next utility bill. This one is truly a win-win.
We’ve already established that any form of air conditioning is out of the question. But what if we said you could enjoy the coolness of air conditioning without the need to purchase a unit? It’s true, using nothing but a bowl of ice and a fan you can create your own air conditioning. Simply, place a bowl of ice or something equally as cold at an angle in front of a fan and sit back and enjoy the cooling breeze generated. Depending on what you use, you may even experience a misty breeze unrivalled by any store-bought air conditioner.
Adjust Your Ceiling Fan
We can almost guarantee that the majority of you don’t know your fan needs to be adjusted depending on the season. It’s true! During the warm months, set your fan to rotate counter-clockwise and at a faster speed to create a cooling effect. This forces cool air down from the ceiling and into the areas of the room that you and your family occupy. And come the colder months, slow the fan down and set it to rotate clockwise to create an updraft, pulling cold air up and forcing warm air down. Simple as that.
Keep Your Body Cool
One of the tricks to staying cool in the summer is keeping your body temperature down. This can be done in many different ways including placing cold cloths on critical areas and choosing the right attire. When deciding what to wear around the house, stick to light fabrics like linen and make sure your outfit is loose fitting. This will keep your clothing away from your skin and allow air to circulate. And once you resort to draping cold washcloths, make sure you know the cooling spots of your body to make the cloths more effective. The areas to target with cold towels are your head, neck, elbow creases, wrists, inner thighs, knee creases and your feet. These areas are more sensitive to temperature changes and will thus help your body feel cooler quicker.
Sleep Low and Alone
When it comes time for bed, skip the lovey-dovey cuddling and keep as much distance as possible. If you can, we recommend sleeping in the basement as that is typically the coldest place in your home. The further you can get away from your significant other, the more you both can sprawl out and keep as cool as possible. And if you choose to stick to your bedroom, sleep as low as possible. You can do this by dropping your mattress to the floor or by swapping your mattress for something much thinner. Choosing something like a bamboo rug or foam pad may not be as comfy as your mattress, but these items don’t hold hot air like a mattress does and will feel much cooler on your body.
Change Your Bed Sheets
Keeping on the topic of sleeping, choosing the right bed sheets can also play a significant part in keeping you cool at night. Ditch the flannel sheets and heavy comforters and try lightweight cotton sheets and no top blanket instead. And if you have to have a top blanket, try a thin quilt or even another sheet to keep things as light as possible.
Unplug Your Oven
You don’t physically have to unplug your oven, but if it helps you remember not to use it then, by all means, go ahead. Using your stove/oven can heat up your entire home in a matter of minutes and takes much longer to cool back down. Instead, try having salads, sandwiches or anything else for dinner that requires little cook/prep time and doesn’t require the use of the microwave, stove, oven or toaster. And if you’re craving chicken, steak or anything else that needs to be cooked, try cooking it on the BBQ to keep the heat outdoors. Everything from meat and veggies to pizza and even some desserts can be cooked on the BBQ.
There’s a reason you fell in love with that century house you call home. And as the temperatures rise and you slowly start to second guess your choice, we hope these tips will help you forget about the heat and remember the reason why you fell in love with your home in the first-place. Sure, a new build with a modern central air system might sound convenient, but there’s no competing with the charm and character every century-old building and home in the city of Guelph has to offer. If you have any questions about any of the hacks we shared above, would like to upgrade to a home with central air or would even like to find your own charming century home, give us a call or send us an email and we would be more than happy to help.