woman in front of a fan

Summer Heat – Here We Go Again.

It’s going to be a hot summer. I tried to find a few forecasts that were the same, but I gave up on that after a while. Some say hot and dry, some say hot and wet, some say normal. Whatever.

 What we, who live here, know is that summer can bring very hot days and many fairly hot days. What it seems a lot of us who live here don’t know, however, are some easy ways to keep cooler in the coming heat.

 I write about this every spring. So here is my 2024 rant. Some of this is repeated from past columns, yes, because that information needs to be heard.

 Number one:

 Exposed skin will not make you cooler in the heat. If you cover that skin with a light covering of natural fiber fabric, you can decrease the temperature on the skin by about 10-15%.

 If the temperature on your skin without coverage is 90 degrees, covering up with a light cotton shirt will decrease that skin temperature to about 75-80 degrees. That’s doable.  

 If you cover up with polyester or a knit ( a t-shirt), that skin temperature can INCREASE about 20%. So if the air on your skin is registering 90 degrees, a polyester or knit shirt can increase that up to 110 degrees. That’s not doable… For this reason, T-shirts are one of the worst things you can wear in the summer. Period. 

 From the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health (http://www.ncceh.ca/content/clothing):

“People wearing polyester fibers in hot environments tend to have higher body temperatures, sweat more, and experience greater discomfort than those wearing cotton or wool.”

Higher body temperatures increase heart rate and blood pressure.”

Now, take this information and apply it to bed sheets and sleeping clothing. You will sleep better with long-sleeved, long-legged lightweight cotton ( or linen, or silk) PJ’s and in cotton sheets, than in anything else. And your sheets will stay a lot cleaner, too, you won’t be soaking them every night with body sweat.

 You can reduce the perceived temperature of your environment by using eye tricks. Use a blue glass for water. Add some blue to your environment — fake flowers, some blue cushions, blue sheets, and a blue tablecloth. Wear blue clothing. When this is posted on the website, I’ll put in my favorite pictures of the same room with blue or red walls. This is a great example of how color impacts our perception of temperature. Of course, most people won’t paint their walls just for summer, but the compass orientation of a room should be considered when choosing paint. 

 Some of my other favorite heat-busters:

 Use a neckerchief thing with water-soaked beads. These really do work to cool our body temperature. Or at least our perception.

 Keep the air moving through your home. Warm air moving will feel cooler. This means that shutting the windows and pulling the drapes is not necessarily a good way to cool a room. Sure, pull the drapes but leave the windows open, leave the drapes open a bit, and get two fans to move that air around. (One pointed into the room, one pointed out.) An FYI is that blackout curtains alone can reduce the temperature in a room by 20 degrees. Lots of options are available for blackout add-ons to existing drapery.

Solar film is an excellent way to reduce the heat in your home and at a decent cost without air conditioning. Just film alone can make a 20-degree difference from twelve inches outside the window to 12 inches inside. I was installing drapery in a window with this film, and the homeowner told me they had checked, and were actually getting 30 degrees difference.

 So, get ready, get prepared, and happy summer!

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