I remember that in mid of August I didn't want to play in my grandmother's garden as in other times of the year but rather be inside reading, drawing, or playing some table games with friends. Mind you it isn't that I was not an active child, but the heat was too much to tolerate to play football, hide and seek or just climb trees.
I still have in the back of my retina a home in a near penumbra, cool enough so as not to perspire with the minimum effort or movement.
Now looking back, I am amazed how wise she was to bring down the exterior temperature by as much as 12ºC within the home just by being methodical and by putting into practise a few tips.
Even now, not everyone has air con or have to monitor its use due to the high cost of the KW specially here in Spain where the electricity prices have rocketed it up.
If this is your case, do not despair, here is my grandmother's guide on how to cool your home in a fun, affordable, and healthy way.
It must be borne in mind that air conditioning can mean up to 70% of the energy consumption of a house in the warmer months. If not all, I am sure you could take advantage of some of my grandma's ideas proposed in this article.
1. Rearrange the house: the less number of furniture, the cooler the house.
On the hottest part of summer, move the sofa away from windows and change the furniture layout, including removing the maximum amount of furniture and carpets. Thus leaving open spaces, the air circulates better and the feeling of freshness is maximized.
In bedrooms you should avoid placing the bed near a window or wall that receives the sun all day (South facing walls), because it overheats excessively and during the night it will be less pleasant to sleep.
2. Be water my friend...
Place micro water sprinklers or water containers scattered throughout the house. That alone can bring down the temperature about three degrees in each room. The reason is that the water vapour absorbs heat from the surrounding air, making the thermometer to drops those valuable degrees.
3. Doors locked up tight.
To cool the house should open the windows early in the morning and evening. The rest of the day are better closed and blinds drawn to be in semidarkness. Your eyes will get accustom very soon.
Regarding the doors must be closed during the day specially those rooms which are unused or on those very hot areas. This will avoid fresh air to vanish when it is redistributed through the warmer areas.
4. Place interior plants throughout the house
It is the same if you have a villa, terrace or small flat. The plants always help cool the atmosphere, especially the greener and large leaves plants as they absorb the sun's rays and provide moisture. Furthermore, when it is watered it will invariably lower the temperature, as the water evaporates.
5. Everything white please!!
To bet on white or light colours is a simple and very cheap idea, also effectively to combat the heat and cool the house. And not just because emotionally one feels cooler in a clear place, but because white reflects heat more that darker colours. Sheets, blankets, covers for chairs and sofas, curtains ... If possible, white and light and soft colours must complete the floor during the summer.
6. Light clothing against heat.
Besides using light colours, during summer wear fabrics like cotton, linen and silk, which allow bodies to perspire better than synthetic clothing and no doubt it is much fresher. "In addition, we can have light wood furniture, which helps to regulate the humidity of rooms, as it is suggested by Construcción21, the social network for buildings and sustainable cities.
7. Forbidden to cook!!
Yes, mothers can take time off the kitchens.
Chilly summer and barely cooked meals go hand in hand. Cold "gazpachos soup" for example are the best. Kitchen appliances are a huge source of heat. Where possible, in very hot days you should avoid using the oven, the dishwasher or washing machine, or do it in the cooler hours or when no one is in the kitchen. And, of course, close the door of this room so that the heat given off does not spread through the rest of the house.
8. Salt and a fan = Air Conditioning!!
You can create air conditioning with a metal bowl, ice, salt and a fan. The salt makes the ice water to be below freezing, and sufficient for the fan blowing on the bowl filled with ice to lower the temperature of the room.
In addition, you can also use my grandma's methods to create natural air currents if the house faces two streets or an inner courtyard and the street, let the air circulate only if the current of air flows from the inner court yard inside and no vice versa.
Ohh grandma...how I miss you!!