We have an idealized view of the summer, from sandy beaches to ice popsicle parties. But when it actually comes, we realize that some days are far from glorious. The yard is scorching hot, while indoors it is so humid it’s almost unbearable.
In fact, last summer 2020, average temperatures rose to 74.7 degrees Fahrenheit in August, the third hottest August in American history. And it seems summers are only going to get hotter as long as we have unresolved issues in climate change.
Before the sun’s out once again in June, there are some things you can do. Prepare your home for a more comfortable stay with these simple tips.
Upgrade Your Insulation
Under a thermogram, the roof and the windows are the hottest parts of the house. The house’s upper floors also tend to be hotter since warm air rises while cold air sinks. Thus, it is important to place your insulation in these areas strategically.
Installing insulated roofing systems is a long-time investment that can last you years. Besides keeping your interiors cool during the summer, it can also warm the temperature when winter comes. Furthermore, a well-insulated home cuts down expenses in cooling and heating bills.
Heat moves from one space to another through conduction and convection. Conduction is when heat shifts from areas with higher temperatures to those in lower scales until the temperature becomes the same in all areas. Put, it is heat spreading from one object to another. Meanwhile, convection is the movement of fluid molecules from higher temperature regions to lower temperature ones.
Insulation reduces these modes of heat transfer. It acts as a barrier to slow down heat movement across the living areas, thereby keeping these areas cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
This process is similar to how portable coolers work. The insulating materials surrounding the portable cooler stops convection and conduction from warming all the objects inside.
Nurture Your Garden
It’s common sense to know that plants cool the air. But how exactly?
There are several ways. One is by providing shade, which reduces the amount of sunlight that strikes objects. Consequently, this reduces the amount of energy re-radiated into the atmosphere.
Through another process called transpiration, the leaves release excess water into the atmosphere when it gets too hot. The surrounding air then cools down as water transforms from liquid form to vapor. Boston University Geographer Wolfgang Buermann compares this process to how we sweat. “When you sweat, you cool the surface of your skin,” Buermann explains.
In vast forests, transpiration manifests in the skies above. The large amounts of water vapor lead to more clouds and precipitation. Additionally, the clouds provide a more vast shade for the area, as it blocks the sunlight rays.
Thus, having a blooming garden can cool down your house big time. If you don’t exactly have a green thumb, you can start by opting for flora and fauna tolerant to heat. A few examples are marigolds, Madagascar periwinkles, and the wide range of the tomato family, from heirloom tomatoes to hybrid tomatoes.
For fruits, watermelon is the plant of choice. They love the heat and thrive in a warm growing season of at least 70 days. Upon harvest, you’ll have a juicy treat for a sweet summer afternoon snack.
Configure Your Ceiling Fan
During the summer, set your ceiling fan in a counter-clockwise direction. By circulating air this way, the blades create a downdraft, pushing the air down to create a breeze that immediately cools you down, sometimes referred to as the windchill effect.
On the other hand, ceiling fan blades set in a clockwise direction create an updraft that redistributes warm air and is more appropriate for the winter season.
Remove Clutter and Reorganize
A cleaner home is cooler than a messy one. This is both psychology and science at play. Visual clutter unconsciously prevents us from feeling comfortable. Having scattered Lego pieces of the floor induces anxiety, while a clear open space invites you to sit and relax.
But it’s not just in the mind. Clutter restricts airflow. With clearer spaces, there is more area for the heat to disperse, hastening the cooling down process. Think of it as a refrigerator; the less stuff you put on the shelves, the faster they can cool.
Embracing the Summer
Summer is a time for enjoyment. It’s a time for some good ol’ relaxation, and your home is the best place to start. By prepping your home, you can enjoy all kinds of activities under the sun.