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Green Living

Cool It Down  –  Everyone loves the summertime, the season when lifelong memories are made. Families vacation together, college students break loose and friends catch up with each other at summer events and festivals. But with all the fun of summer, there is usually one thing that I must admit I have to mentally prepare myself to manage—the heat.

As the years go by, and as climate change becomes a bit more personal, summers are getting even hotter. In our Caribbean climate, our once cool sea breeze is no match for the summer’s heat. But before you turn your conventional air conditioning unit on, consider these options for cooling down in the summer time.

Plant to be cool. If you are building your home or have enough space, plant trees that will shade your home from the sun. When planning your property, this simple element can save you from the fury of the summer’s sun. Shade trees around a property should be investigated carefully. Avoid trees that attract pesky insects or require lots of trimming. A shade tree should serve the purpose of protecting the home from the sun and giving your property an extra bid of privacy but should never be overwhelming to maintain. Trees grow, so ensure you plant trees in a strategic spot but not too close to your dwelling. If you have not built as yet and are perhaps now clearing land, investigate weather you can keep existing trees to be used as shade trees.

 

Let air flow through your home. Open windows and doors to allow air to move freely throughout your property in the late afternoons and evenings. Clean window and door screens that may have built up dust and dirt. Dirty screens can block clean air from flowing through the home. Believe it or not, a clean home is a cooler home. Avoid clutter as much as possible by packing away unused items.

Fans can be beneficial for cooling spaces. For homeowners that are not interested in rotating hot air, a bit more of an investment can be made in an electronic fan that provides a cooling mechanism. Today you can find a variety of these units without the industrial sound of large cooling fans. Fans are less expensive than AC units and also use less energy.

After trying all the above, if your home is still too warm for your liking, before you go out and purchase central air conditioning, consider using a portable, window unit. Portable AC units are perfect for cooling down while still trying to do the environmentally responsible thing. Even if you are not thinking about the environment, here is something to think about: mobile units cost less and run on approximately one quarter of the energy used for central air conditioning.

If you must have central air, turn up your thermostat so the home is kept cool and not freezing. Seal windows to prevent the cool air from escaping and hot air entering. Pull shades and drapes to prevent the sun from heating rooms. Clean filters regularly to avoid build-up and to allow the unit to run efficiently.

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Who wants to remember summer as just being hot, hot days? By exploring some of these options for cooling your home, you can start to build summer fun memories that aren’t all about the summer heat. 
 

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