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How to cool down your home during a heat wave without an air-cond

Temperatures are rising to record highs in many places across the globe, and so are energy prices.

But there are other ways to keep your house cool if you don’t want to switch on the air-cond. Here are some tips on how to create an agreeable climate at home during hot days.

Once the temperatures have fallen again in the late evening, you should air your rooms thoroughly to release any accumulated heat, particularly between hot days.

Christian Handwerk from a German consumer advice centre recommends opening several windows across your house or flat for a longer period of time, to allow the draught to move through.

When temperatures are soaring, you might be tempted to leave the windows wide open during the day as well, in hope of an alleviating breeze.

While the draught might feel nice on your skin, your room will soon heat up, however, according to Handwerk, as the heat starts entering through the open windows and heats up everything inside – from the floor to the furniture.

“As difficult as it might be, it’s best to keep the windows shut during the day,” the expert says.This doesn’t mean you can’t open them occasionally to let in a bit of fresh air – but try to keep it short.

According to a German consumer advice centre, fans are a great way to create a refreshing indoor climate, and more efficient than ACs.

Closing the blinds

Another way to prevent your rooms from heating up is to block out any direct sunshine.

“External sun protection such as shutters is the best protection against heat,” says Berlin-based construction expert Andreas Kohler.

He even recommends lowering them throughout the entire day. If you don’t have exterior shutters, you can also attach blinds to your windows from the inside.

Handwerk recommends roller blinds with reflective surfaces, for example aluminium slats.

Another option is sun protection film, which are applied directly to the window pane from the outside.

“It’s translucent and can be left on even in winter,” says Handwerk.

Switch off all potential heat sources

This tip isn’t only great to reduce heat, it also helps to save energy. Electric devices should be completely switched off, as they heat up when operating.

While a single device doesn’t emit that much heat, it can make a difference when all of your devices, including the TV and computer, are shut down properly after use.

Unfortunately, the appliance emitting the most heat by nature is the fridge, says Handwerk. And usually, it’s hardly an option to do without it.

However, one thing you can do is to avoid using the oven on hot days. Besides emitting heat, it also increases the humidity level, which makes the high temperatures even more unbearable, according to Kohler.

Lose the carpet

You will never find carpet floor in a Spanish or Italian casa, and for good reason. Different to tiles or wood, carpet acts as insulation material, according to Handwerk.

“Thick carpets decouple the solid floor construction from the rest of the room. This means that when there is ventilation, the cool air doesn’t reach the floor and the heat accumulates in it.”

It’s therefore time to roll up the rugs and store them away when temperatures are rising outside, the expert says.

Go green

Another great and natural way to improve the indoor climate is to set up some more plants.

“Leaves, especially those with a large surface area, release cooling moisture into the environment,” says hydroponics expert Jurgen Herrmannsdorfer, who recommends monocot, nest fern and Cyprus grass.

Take down the laundry

While plants evaporate cooling moisture, things work a little differently when it comes to your laundry.

It might seem a good idea to hang up your clothes to dry in your room, but the cooling effect is rather short-lived. Soon afterwards, it will become muggier due to the increased humidity and can even promote mould growth if done too often.

This is also a risk posed by many plants, an aquarium or humidifiers, Kohler says. You should therefore make sure to select the right kinds of greenery, and move your fish out of common areas on hot days.

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