Three Tips for Beating the Summer Heat at Home
by Ginny McCabe
When it comes to beating the heat this summer, don’t sweat it. There are several things you can do at home to keep you and your family cool and healthy. Here are a few tips to consider:
Regularly maintain your air conditioning unit. Cooling your home during the summer is one of the top keys to comfort. That’s why regularly maintaining and servicing your air conditioner is vital. Anytime there is a seasonal change, it’s a good idea to schedule a maintenance call with a heating and air conditioning professional.
There are other practical steps you can take throughout the summer months to keep your system running smoothly, such as changing the air filter on the furnace. Filters that are dirty or clogged can raise your cooling costs. Another benefit of a clean air filter is they can help remove things like dust and debris from the interior of your home. Other precautions can include having your ductwork inspected for leaks as well as removing any debris around the exterior of the air conditioning unit.
Another money-saving idea is to have a programmable thermostat installed in your home. A programmable thermostat is easy to install, can save homeowners money, and can increase the efficiency of an AC unit. In addition to regular maintenance, it’s helpful to keep the windows and doors in your home shut when the air conditioner is running. If a window or door remains open, it will allow the outdoor heat inside and escalate your cooling costs.
Power down electronics. Another way to keep cool in the summer is powering down your computer, tablet or cell phone. Sometimes, they need a break too. When your computer is in sleep mode, for example, it gives off less heat and it doesn’t use as much power. When you’re not using the computer, like at night, shut it down and power up again in the morning. This is another no-cost tip that will save you money on electricity.
Remember, if something is plugged into the wall, it is still using power. One way to help regulate electronics is to install a power strip with surge protection, and turn off all your computers and devices at once. This goes for chargers as well. If they are plugged into the wall, they’re sapping up energy. When you’re done charging a phone or a tablet, unplug the charger. If you have a choice, laptops use less energy than desktop computers. You can also put printers and scanners on sleep mode when you’re not using them. For other items around the house like a cordless phone, consider using rechargeable batteries. Long-term, rechargeable batteries are more cost-effective than disposable batteries.
Shutting down can also apply to other common household appliances like a stove. Instead of heating up the stove, consider other alternatives like microwaving a meal or grilling out.
Stay hydrated and eat healthy. We may not always realize it, but our bodies lose moisture when we sweat. That’s why it’s important to drink water and other fluids, especially during the summer months. When we lose water to dehydration, our body temperature rises. Fluids can help to keep us cool. Make it a habit to drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day. If you feel sluggish or tired, drink a glass of water.
When it comes to being hydrated and healthy, a percentage of our daily fluids come from eating fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes. Adding plenty of fruits and vegetables to meals will increase our fluid intake. Food choices can account for about 20 percent of our daily fluid intake. Also, keep in mind that children are more prone to dehydration than adults. Supply kids with water and other healthy beverages throughout the day.
If you know a day is expected to be particularly busy, or active away from home, pack a water bottle and a snack. With summer in full swing, there are often lots of outdoor activities, vacations and sporting events on the calendar. With scorching summer temperatures, it can be easy to be hit with dehydration, that’s why it’s important to stay hydrated and healthy. If you plan to be on the go all day, pack a cooler or backpack with bottled water, energy drinks and some fruit.
Ginny McCabe is a bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, media professional, speaker and teacher. Her work can be seen in publications like Journal-News, Reuters and O, The Oprah Magazine. Secrets Young Women Keep is an ECPA Silver Medallion winner and has been featured on the CBA Young Adult Bestseller Lists. Ginny was named “Best Freelance Writer” in 2018 and a Kiplinger Fellow in 2019. Connect with Ginny at www.ginnymccabe.com and on Twitter @ginnymccabe.
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