Colorado summers pale in comparison to the heat that affects much of the rest of the country. While Arizona hits toasty triple digit degrees and the South threatens to get carried away by mosquitoes in the humidity, Colorado temperatures typically stay in the mid-eighties and nineties, with just a few days creeping towards tropical heat.
While the majority of homes in Colorado do not have air conditioning, those few blazing hot days might make you wish for a blast of A/C. Without spending thousands on air conditioning for those few days, we have a few tips for staying cool in the Colorado heat.
Think about the materials you are using. From what you wear to the sheets you sleep under to the pillow you lie your head on, the materials matter. Flannel and silk are lovely for much of the year, but will cause you to toss and turn on a July night. Think cotton, crisp cotton, when you are making your bed. Buckwheat hull pillows are great for hot nights, because buckwheat is light and airy even when you sleep on it. As far as clothing, dress for the weather whenever possible. A light nightshirt, thin layers, cotton- dressing for the summer temperatures is an important component in staying cool.
Windows and doors
Be smart with your windows. Keep blinds closed, especially in areas that get direct sunlight. If you are comfortable with it, open a window or two at night to let the cool evening air in. Place box fans in windows to flush the hot air out. Think about cross breezes when you have windows and doors open. If you are replacing either your windows or your doors, look for energy efficient units.
Switch from old school incandescent lightbulbs to compact florescent bulbs. Then, turn them all off when artificial light is not needed. Unplug electronics when they are not being used. These may seem like small things, but both light bulbs and electronics can emit heat in small quantities.
If you use fans, be smart about them. Use box fans in windows to push hot air out. Run ceiling fans counter-clockwise, to cool rooms off. Turn your fans off when you leave a room, because they will waste energy otherwise. A trick from decades ago that is tried and true is to set a pan of ice in front of a box fan or tabletop fan. This may sound crazy, but the fan will move across the ice and work almost like a mister.
Turn the oven off! Grill your meals outside, whether you are making burgers or caramelizing pineapple rings. Take advantage of the bounty of fruits and veggies that are available in the summer months, and make salads and sandwiches for light dinners. Use your crockpot or other small appliances that won’t heat up your entire house. If you must use the oven, double up and make a couple of meals at once.
These are just a few easy ideas to stay cool during the few dog days of summer. Implementing even a few of these tips will keep you happy in the heat. Stay hydrated, and remember that summer is short and sweet in Colorado.