Beijing summer can sometimes feel unbearable. The high temperatures expected during the reminder of the summer can actually be higher than reported according to People’s Daily. The use of an air conditioner to cool the house is a great way to make it inhabitable but it is also expensive. The electricity consumption that a full house air conditioner takes is a lot and some times even then the house still feels warmer; you can save by trying to use these simple cooling alternatives both at the individual and household level.
Here are some we thought you might find useful.
Sweet Slumber During Summer Nights
At night is the most tempting to put on the AC in search of a restful night but you could try:
- Getting a fan for your room. A fan on a low setting that can keep a light breeze blowing across your room can work wonders. If you don’t like air blowing directly on you while you sleep, you can still make your room cooler by using a fan in your window to circulate fresh air. You may have to use a purifier to ensure that the air quality in the room is good.
- Put a small pillow in the freezer an hour or two before you go to bed. Put a few plastic shopping bags over it to keep ice from forming on the fabric.
- Use silk or satin pillowcases, and satin sheets. These fabrics will feel smoother and cooler as you sleep.
- If you wake up too hot, consider how many coverings – e.g. over 80F/26C maybe sleep uncovered, over 73F/23C 1 sheet, under that 1 blanket, etc.
Water, Water and More Water
- Drink water frequently. Your body will feel cooler if you are hydrated. Try drinking eight ounces of water at least every hour. Adding mint leaves, or orange, lemon or cucumber slices to your water makes it more refreshing.
- Get a cheap spray bottle – fill it with water, adjust it to fine mist and spray it on your exposed skin for an instant chill-zing cooling effect.
- Keep the back of your neck in shade (wear a cap backwards, or raise your collar) or put a wet handkerchief on the back of the neck. The sensor for our body temperature control system is in this area, and so with this method you can make the rest of your body think that you are "cool".
- You can relive the 80’s and wear a wet terrycloth headband on your forehead. Or wear a bandana with water soaked on it and put it on your head.
- Run cold water over your wrists for 10 seconds on each hand. This will reduce your temperature for roughly an hour.
- Soak your feet in a bucket of cold water. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will efficiently cool the body. Kids wading pools are great for adults’ feet too.
- Fill your bathtub with cool water and get in (this is if you have one). Once you are used to the temperature, let some water out and refill with cold water. Keep doing this until you are sufficiently cold. Your body will stay cool for a long time after you get out. For a fast cool-down, add ice!
The DIY air conditioner
This simple DIY air conditioner can save you a lot but it’s slightly messy:
- Put a metal bowl of salted ice in front of a fan, and adjust the fan so that the air is blowing over the ice. Or, use one or more 2 liter bottles and fill them mostly full of (water – 70%) & (rock salt – 10% the salt brings the temp of the frozen water down to a lower ºF) (air – 20% for expansion), freeze them, then place them in a large bowl. Position a fan to blow on them. As the salty ice in the bottles melts, the air cools around them. The fan will blow that air at you. The water & salt in the bottles can be refrozen every night and used again repeatedly.
- You can also turn on your stove fan (on the ventilator hood) or open up your chimney flue. These will also draw hot air out of the house and pull cooler evening air into the house.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Photos by Guian Bolisay of Flickr