How to keep cool in India’s searing heat – with or without an energy-hogging, expensive AC? Simple tricks with fans, a little ice and lots of shade work wonders to keep your home cooler.
Some of these solutions will be familiar to those who lived in an era (not so long ago!) when ACs, even electricity, were a rare commodity in India, and most of the family moved to the terrace for a few months.
Bedroom and Sleep Solutions
- Sleep in comfy cotton. Bed linen in light-weight cottonbreathes, absorbs sweat, and lets your body heat dissipate. In fact, even cotton-filled mattresses are cooler than foam or foam-topped spring mattresses.
- Stick your cotton bedsheets in the freezer for a few minutes before bed. We recommend placing them in a plastic bag first!
- Use a rubber hot water bottle to create an easy-to-use ice pack for your bed.Put it in the freezer or simply fill with crushed ice.
- Use a damp sheet or towel as a blanket. Lay damp sheets on top of a towel so it won’t soakyour mattress.
- Make a funky air conditioner by placing a shallow pan full of ice in front of a fan. The fan’s breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a cooling cloud.
- Create a cross-breeze.Place a fan across from a window, so the wind from outside and the fan mix in a cool cross-breeze.
- More fan tricks: Point box fans out the windows so they push hot air out, or adjust ceiling fan settings so the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of just swooshing it around your room.
- String up a hammock or set up a simple cot. Both types of beds are suspended on all sides, which increases airflow…. Are we talking charpoy here?
- Cool a whole room by hanging a wet sheet in front of an open window. The breeze blowing in will quickly bring down the room’s temperature.
- Drink a glass of water before bed. Sweating and tossing and turning while you sleep, or try to, can cause dehydration, so get some liquid in the tank beforehand.
- Take a cool shower to bring down yourcore body temperature and rinse off sweat – you’ll hit the sack feeling cool and clean.
- Get loose.Less is definitely better for your summertime sleepwear. Don a loose cotton shirt and shorts or underwear. Wearing nothing may actually be warmer – your sweat is wicked away by loose cotton clothing.
- Sleep alone. Sorry, folks, a warm body is just that.
And here are some tips for the whole house – they all work for those is apartments or flats as well.
- Try cost-effective conservation measures by providinggood shade for your east and west windows.
- For the hot season, keep the house closed up tight during the day. Don’t let in unwanted heat and humidity. Ventilate at night either naturally or with fans.
- Plant shade trees around the house. Don’t plant trees on the South if you want to have passive solar heating in winter. For people in flats with balconies, put leafy plants in the right directions.
- Install white window shades or mini-blinds. Mini-blinds reduce solar heat gain by 40 to 50 percent.
- Close south and west-facing curtains during the day for any window that gets direct sunlight, and keep the windows closed, too.
- Install awnings on south-facing windows if there’s not enough roof overhang to provide good shade.
- If you’re away most of the day, be sure to close windows and curtains or blinds before you go.
- Hang tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside the window during the summer to stop up to 80 percent of the sun’s heat from getting to the windows.
All of these will work with your AC, too – to reduce its load and save energy and money. And if you’re shopping for a new AC, check out the inverter versions – all of these are 5-Star+ rated, use new cleaner cooling agents, and don’t need a stabilizer.
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