With the hottest days of the year rapidly approaching, it’s time to think about how you’ll be keeping senior living cool.
You could crank up the air conditioning to full power and let the days pass by in the cool comfort of your home, but that kind of electric consumption can be pricey according to the annual Summer Cooling Costs study by the AARP Public Policy Institute. The average rate for electricity has gone up 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour since 2002. That may not seem like much of a difference, but it means you’ll be spending an average of $262 to stay cool during the sweltering summer months this year.
Those kinds of bills can add up fast.
If you’re looking for a more cost-effective way to keep cool this summer, we have three low-tech, low-cost ways to supplement the cooling power of your air conditioning so your bills don’t break the bank.
1. Increase the cooling effect of your fans.
Using a directional or overhead fan with the right power in addition to your air conditioning can be an efficient and cost-effective way to cool down.
- Make your oscillating fans more effective. Cut an old cotton t-shirt into strips and dip them in a bowl of ice water then tie the damp strips to the bars of your fan to help double the cooling power.
- Ceiling fans can cool your body temperature by as much as 8 degrees, and they’re much less expensive to operate (just a few cents for every hour). Just make sure you remember to set yours back to blowing air down for the summer. You can switch it back to keep things warmer in the winter.
- Create your own low-tech air conditioner with ice water and a directional fan. Fill a shallow dish with ice water and set it in front of your fan for a breeze that will cool down ambient temperature like an air conditioning unit.
2. Manage your body temperature.
If you can keep your body cool, you’ll find yourself turning the AC on full bore less frequently.
- Take senior living outdoors, and you won’t have to worry about keeping your home at that perfect temperature. Stake out a lounge chair in a shady corner of the local pool for your summer reading. As breezes blow across the surface of the pool, the water cools it down even more. It’s like a natural air conditioner. Just remember to put on your sunscreen!
- Go for a dip. One of the quickest ways to cool down is total immersion. A daytrip to the local pool or even a cool soak in the tub can be a refreshing way to beat the heat this summer.
- Repurpose your holey tube socks into DiY cooling wristbands. Cut the leg of your worn out socks into strips like a sweat band and get them damp before sticking them in the freezer to cool down. Pull them out and wear them on your wrists whenever you start getting a little too toasty.
3. Be energy-efficient.
You never have to feel guilty about turning up the air conditioning when you use less energy running other appliances and electronics.
- Turn out the lights. Keeping your lights on all day can raise your electric bill and your temperature. Lights can generate quite a bit of heat the longer they stay on—you’ve probably noticed this when you change a light bulb after a lamp has been on for a while. If you can rely on natural light during the day, you’ll find your senior living and electric bill more agreeable.
- Pull out the barbecue or go with non-cook meals. Turning on the oven or stove is a fast way to heat things up.
- It may be tempting to open a window when things start getting warm, but it may not be the most effective cooling choice. Houses are designed to keep ambient air in, so unless the air outside is considerably cooler, the breeze blowing in your windows won’t do much to cool things down.
Head over to AARP if you’re looking for even more cost-effective ways to cool down as senior living heats up this summer.
Image Credit: Marcin Wichary